Base Honor Guard, Another Way To Serve
By TSgt Jeremy Farson, 117th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published January 29, 2019
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --
The 117th Air Refueling Wing Honor Guard team is seeking Airmen interested in honoring veterans and providing exposure to the military. The Honor Guard provides a way to tell a story about a portion of someone’s life. When they take part in a veteran’s funeral the Honor Guard provides direct visual representation of service. The Honor Guard officer-in-charge is Lt. Col. Jon Michael Taylor, Commander of the 117th Intelligence Squadron.
“We exist to perform funeral honors for a deceased veteran and we help educate and provide a visual representation of the military to people who may not have much exposure to it,” said Taylor.
The team providing funeral honors is comprised of an officer in charge, a bugler, pallbearers and riflemen. Volunteers need no experience and there is no formal school as training is conducted on base and uniforms are provided. The initial training is approximately two hours and if assigned to a detail, the team meets the day before a function to go over movements for whatever event they will participate.
“I was part of a ceremony where people did not know the person for whom we provided funeral honors was even in the military,” said Taylor. “People came up and thanked us after the ceremony.”
In addition to funeral honors they perform at events ranging from local Veteran’s Day parades to Alabama Governor Inaugurations. Volunteers have the flexibility to participate at a level that fit their personal schedules.
“If someone is looking for a way to serve, something fulfilling and to be a reflection in the community, this is a great way to do it,” said Taylor. “As years pass the size of the military decreases and less families have someone that serves, so we provide some people’s only direct contact to the military.”