When Senior Airman Yumi Podjuban, 86th Operations Support Squadron intelligence analyst, joined the Air Force she knew nothing about the honor guard, but gravitated toward the special duty because she felt it was a good way to give back.
Overseas, the honor guard program is comprised solely of volunteers, and joining is easier than one thinks, said Podjuban.
Staff Sgt. Terry Cooper, 786th Force Support Squadron Ramstein Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge said: “The honor guard is a great volunteer opportunity for up-and-coming NCOs.”
Candidates must have a good physical and work performance track record. Preferred candidates have not received any Letters of Counseling, or Letters of Reprimand, but service members may be accepted into the honor guard on a probationary basis.
Podjuban remembers her first month in the honor guard as the most difficult. She had to learn new methods of flag and rifle movement. The differences between certain details proved difficult, but not impossible.
As things became second-nature in the following months, the honor guard became an enriching experience.
The Ramstein Honor Guard provides an opportunity for service members to learn discipline, pay their respects to others, and hone leadership skills. Podjuban learned many things from her experience in the honor guard, including learning how to teach others, organizing her time, and communicating effectively.
The most rewarding part of the honor guard is paying respect to those retiring from their career or fallen military members, said Podjuban.
“Knowing that someone is retired, (and) getting paid the respect they deserve, or knowing that at a funeral you are paying your respect for their service,” she added.
The honor guard is a one-year commitment, cemented by a contract signed by both the service member and their leadership. Attending practice on Tuesday and Thursday at the honor guard hangar each week is mandatory.
After successfully completing an evaluation, which includes perfectly reciting the honor guard charge, members receive the honor guard badge, colloquially known as “the cookie.” Following this process, positions in details will be filled in based on schedules.
The most important part of participating in a detail is ensuring “everything goes off without a hitch,” said Podjuban.
For information, call the honor guard program at 480-5968 or 06371-47-5968; or email the honor guard program at 86AW.Honorguard@us.af.mil.