BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Due to recent hurricanes, Barksdale's Honor Guard Airmen have been experiencing higher than normal operation levels in order to honor fallen veterans affected by the storms.
As four Airmen prepare for a color guard detail, they check each other's uniforms to ensure perfection for the presentation of colors. To them, honor guard is a privilege, one worth honoring, even when the job is demanding.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a lot of requests for Honor Guard came through. For the last few weeks, honor guard has handled an average 10-12 details a weekend.
"Usually, we process about three to five details in one weekend," said Tech Sgt. Brandon Henry, Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge. "It can be hard on the Airmen sometimes, being around death all of the time. They handle it well and are trained to respect and honor the deceased and their family with honor and pride. This kind of training helps their entire career."
They give their all, even when the work flow is normal. To them honor guard is much more than just a brief break from their day to day jobs. According to these Airmen, Honor Guard is about pride and dignity.
To one particular Airman, honor guard is about reputation and being an excellent representative of military customs.
"We are the last, or only, representation of the military that these families see," said Senior Airmen Trey McClain, 2nd Medical Group diagnostic imaging technician. "We can make the entire Air Force look good or bad. That is why it is important for us to look good, be on point, and have such high honors for our deceased service members."
Attending a funeral can be difficult for friends and family involved. Being an Honor Guard Airman involves attending many funerals. To these Airmen, it is not a time to fall apart, walk away or shut down; it is a time to rise and stand for the service members that fought for America; it is a time to toast their brethren.