JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
The Air Force Honor Guard Mobile Team arrived here Oct. 24 to conduct training with Joint Base Charleston’s Honor Guard team.
The mobile team is comprised of pallbearing, colors and a firing party instructor that travel to bases year-round to help improve the abilities of base honor guard members.
“They’re here to ensure we are training and following the correct movements, procedures and protocols,” said Staff Sgt. Cecilia Ayon, Joint Base Charleston Honor Guard NCO in charge. “They look at manning, our facility, and our funding as well as give advice on things they’ve seen at other bases.”
The class has 22 Airmen with varying levels of honor guard training. Base honor guard members from Joint Base Andrews, Md. and Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. also attended the training.
“The Airmen here are very eager to learn and are great students,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew James, Air Force Honor Guard mobile team colors element trainer, “I can fix someone that has a problem with a movement, but I don’t have the ability to fix a bad attitude. This team is great to work with and fun to be around.”
For this training session, the mobile team is focusing on how to conduct an active duty funeral. The Active Duty Funeral is a 20-man sequence covering every component honor guard members learn from carrying the casket, to folding the flag, presenting the colors, firing party and a bugler to play taps.
“The active duty funeral is the most complex funeral an honor guard team has to do with the most manning,” said Airman 1st Class Merrick Kruml, Air Force Honor Guard mobile team firing party element trainer. “For their graduation, they will have to perform a mock active duty funeral to show how well they learned the training.”
The Air Force Honor Guard will usually only have one mobile team deployed at any at a time.
“The mobile team hasn’t been here since 2008,” said Ayon. “I pushed really hard to get the mobile team here to ensure the program would be handed off to Tech. Sgt. Wesley Catoe with a successful team. Sort of my farewell project since Catoe will be taking over at the end of November.”
The honor guard received a new instruction manual this year, causing changes to some of the sequences they execute during ceremonies. With these changes, the mobile team is able to help teach the new movements in person.
“No matter how good you think you are on these rotations, there are always ways to get better and to improve,” said Airman 1st Class Alexander Klimek, base honor guard member. “Having them here to help us is a very enlightening experience and I hope everything they teach us transfers over to all the future rotations of Airmen to come in. This is the proper way we are supposed to perform and we wouldn’t want this to get lost in translation in future cycles.”
The mobile team conducts their training within the honor guard’s regular training schedule, which is an eight-day course from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The team will graduate Nov. 2 at 10 a.m.
“The trainers have been phenomenal,” said Ayon. “To have their expertise here to help my Airmen become better honor guard members is beyond appreciated."