Base Honor Guard: Honoring the Fallen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Yendi Borjas
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.— Uniforms in perfect order, facing movements crisp and with precision. Commands given with an authoritative but solemn tone; these are the Airmen of the Base Honor Guard.

Tasked with honoring our nations fallen, 26 of Ellsworth’s Airmen are members of the base’s Honor Guard (BHG), ready to provide military funeral honors and ceremonial events.

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard was established in May of 1948 and has since provided an honorable representation of past, present and future Airmen. Although Honor Guard is its own job in the Air Force, individual bases have been congressionally mandated to provide services within a localized area of responsibility.

Ellsworth’s Base Honor Guard’s area of responsibility includes South Dakota and parts of Nebraska and Wyoming.

“When a service member passes away, we provide military funeral honors. This includes retirees, active duty and veterans,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Romero, 28th Force Support Squadron ceremonial guardsman. “No matter how much time they have served, we will be there to honor them.”

According to Airman 1st Class Azrael Gamboa, 28th Force Support Squadron ceremonial guardsman, it is a humbling experience to be in front of the family, folding and presenting the flag to the next of kin and taking part in an intimate moment during a funeral.

“When you walk into a funeral, you feel the mourning in the room,” said Gamboa. “Taps starts to play and immediately people begin to cry, and you have to remind yourself to remain composed and do your job.”

BHG is a program that belongs to the 28th Force Support Squadron, but Airmen from every job can have the opportunity to join if they are interested. The contract is one year total, seven months active and five months inactive.

Gamboa added, the early stages of BHG include teaching and refining ceremonial aspects such as drill and the folding of the flag.

“A lot of people join the military to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Romero. “In my opinion, this is bigger than joining, it’s an incredible opportunity.”