The Dover Air Force Base Honor Guard and 18 members of the 436th Airlift Wing march down State St. July 4, 2012, in Dover, Del. Base personnel, participating in the annual City of Dover 4th of July parade, marched past hundreds of onlookers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
Honor Guard members from the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del., march in front of Col. Mark Camerer, commander of the 436th AW, and a flight of service members at Old Dover Days in Dover, Del. For the past 78 years, members in the Mid-Atlantic region adopt Dover, as their honorary state capital to celebrate the history and heritage of the first state. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Morgan)
The Team Dover Honor Guard prepares for the parade at the Delaware State Fair July 25, 2012, in Harrington, Del. The parade is a yearly event that typically features Team Dover members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Morgan)
by Airman 1st Class Kathryn Stilwell
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
8/14/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The base Honor Guard at Dover Air Force Base, Del., could be considered the face of the base when they are called on to act in an official capacity. They continually strive for excellence in all they do while providing services such as military honors, and partaking in local community events.
The Honor Guard's main mission is to give military honors to veterans, retirees and those who have fallen during their active duty service. Their secondary duties are to post colors for retirements and change-of-command ceremonies, and to participate in several community-relation functions such as parades and ribbon-cutting ceremonies. They serve a jurisdiction of approximately 12,220 miles, including four states: Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
"Military honors are our primary mission. It is one of the benefits of being in the military whether you served one day, or made a career out of it. It is recognition for your military service," said Tech. Sgt. Scott Hautanen, non-commissioned officer in charge of Honor Guard.
Most members of the Honor Guard serve a four-month tour that can be extended in certain instances. Airmen are selected on a volunteer basis and go through a rigorous two-week training session to learn everything from facing maneuvers to performing those same movements with a weapon. They train are evaluated as a flight at the end of their training. However, even once they have completed their initial phase of preparation, they are still expected to hone their techniques in order to maintain their mantle of excellence.
"That's our job the whole four months. When we're not working, we're training. The goal is perfection. They say nobody is perfect, but we try our best, and that's why we practice, practice, practice," said Hautanen.
The Honor Guard is an integral part of Dover AFB by providing support during various ceremonies and events. They provide essential backing for military honors, their most important mission, and strive for perfection by training for their tasks on a regular basis.
"We are part of everyone's lives here. We're a part of every retirement and change-of-command. I know they say that every member, every Airman, represents the Air Force, but in turn, we represent all of Dover AFB," said Hautanen.