RAF ALCONBURY, England --
The 423rd Air Base Group honor guard is responsible for rendering honors at various events throughout the wing, such as parades, Community College of the Air Force graduations, annual award ceremonies, change of commands, and other official events.
Staff Sgt. Sharie Surratte, 423rd ABG noncommissioned officer in charge of base honor guard, spoke about how instilling the right attitude in her Airmen is critical to the success of an honor guard unit.
“As both NCOIC and program manager my primary responsibilities for the honor guard are mentoring the Airmen by reinforcing the Air Force core values of esprit de corps and consistently displaying service before self,” said Surratte. “Once that attitude is captured by the team, we are able to train hard to perfect the honors we perform.”
COVID-19 has placed unprecedented challenges on everyone throughout the wing. Surratte spoke about how her team adjusted to the new social distancing guidelines as they still continue to practice and work on perfecting their details.
“When the pandemic first started, honor guard practice was placed on hold so we could abide by U.K. public health and the CAT directive guidelines,” said Surratte. “We do try to maintain the social distancing as much as possible, but every member has to wear a mask and inform me if they feel that they have any COVID symptoms.”
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the ceremonial guardsmen are still held to the very high standards that the position requires.
“While in the honor guard I have learned how much time and effort it takes to achieve perfection,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Nolan, 423rd ABG base honor guardsman. “I’ve learned how challenging it can be to set up for multiple events and ensure that everything is prepared to be executed perfectly at the right time. I’ve learned about the amount of time and effort that goes into preparing for a single event.”
While continuing to prepare for their next detail, Surratte reminds us of how important it is to serve and be a part of something bigger than yourself
“There is a sense of pride that comes with honoring our nation, its flag and those who have served our nation well,” said Surratte. “Those who represent the Honor Guard are those of an elite team. We work and train hard to achieve distinction.”