Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 1, 2010 at 1:06pm

McChord Honor Guard wins AMC award

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- The McChord Honor Guard Team has been named the 2009 Air Mobility Command Honor Guard Team of the Year. 

The Honor Guard Team has conducted 624 total funeral honors, to include final escort of 417 war veterans. In addition, they have performed flag folding at 225 retirement ceremonies and have executed 47 Joint Color Guards and parades.

"An average working week for our team includes 30 funerals and more than six color guard events," said Tech. Sgt. Bonnie Longie, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard NCOIC. 

Sergeant Longie has been the McChord Honor Guard NCOIC for two years, and she says she has seen vast improvements in the Honor Guard members.

"This team is very impressive," said Sergeant Longie. "They carry a level of pride unlike anything I've ever seen."

The Honor Guard requires a certain number of Airmen from each squadron to fulfill its quota. At any given time, there are 72 members, broken up into three teams of 24. Those teams rotate throughout the year, switching back and forth from stand-by to active status each month. 

"The volunteer rate has significantly increased," said Sergeant Longie. "Last year, we had a 65% volunteer rate. This year, that number is up to about 95%."

This year's AMC Honor Guard Team has not only completed an outstanding number of ceremonies and events, but they've also created a brand new training program that has been benchmarked AMC wide.

"The training program used to be a month long, but we've actually been able to cut that down to two weeks," said Capt. Tammy Ortung, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard Commander.

The revolutionized training program still includes the same vital training for funeral procedures, rifle practice, color guard and discipline. The new program has been recognized and adopted by other AMC Honor Guard teams. 

"We are representing the Air Force," said Captain Ortung. "We need to ensure our team is trained and prepared to show the proper respect and honor to these fallen servicemembers."

The men and women serving in the McChord Honor Guard Team continue their highly dedicated and determined attitude towards giving their fellow servicemembers the proper respect they deserve.

"There is a certain pride and professionalism that comes along with being a part of the Honor Guard," said Sergeant Longie. "These Airmen understand what it means to honor fallen servicemembers."     

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