Utah Honor Guard: a volunteer duty

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colton Elliott
  • 151 ARW/PA
The 151st Air Refueling Wing Honor Guard provides professional military honors for official military and civil ceremonies as required by the Utah Air National Guard. This elite team of Airmen sets the example of excellence and is an everyday ambassador of the United States Air Force.

The honor guard consists of volunteers that represent not only their home units on base, but also the Armed Forces in various events throughout the state of Utah.

In addition to rendering military honors to service members during funeral services, the honor guard also conducts various color guard ceremonies, which included 12 Utah Jazz basketball games during their 2015-2016 season.

"Being in the honor guard provides a deeper perspective to service," said Tech Sgt. Jaime Phair, honor guard member. "It's a genuine opportunity for Airmen to demonstrate a greater respect for those who have served before them."

The honor guard, consisting of traditional and full time guardsmen, represents Airmen to the American public and the world. Members train hard to represent the Utah Air National Guard preserve the heritage of those past and present, often taking time out of their own schedules to support community events and provide honors to retirees.

"Our members do an outstanding job representing each of us in our community," said Master Sgt. Sean Morton, base honor guard manager. "They are open and friendly and continue to build a good rapport in the community. This has given us the opportunity to come back to these events year after year."

When color guards or more extensive honors are required, 151st personnel can be placed on military orders or receive a daily stipend of $50 for performing the ceremony. The volunteer part of honor guard is performing outside of an individual's primary duty position; it does not mean it is without reimbursement for time and effort. A member must be on military pay status, in order to perform a ceremony.

"Being a member of the honor guard requires a lot of training and discipline," said Tech Sgt. Thomas Belgard, 151st Honor Guard member. "It's not a job for everyone, but for those who understand the magnitude of taking care of others and recognizing their service."

Belgard added that while the job has many challenges and requires dedication and hard work, it is also filled with rewards and personal satisfaction.

"We have several upcoming events," said Morton. "We will be doing colors for the Utah Honor Flight, the annual Utah Veterans Business Conference, and several Salt Lake Bees games."

The Utah Honor Guard is always looking for sharp Airmen with a deep devotion to duty and a strong sense of dedication. Morton encouraged those who want to have a memorable and rewarding opportunity to contact him at sean.k.morton.mil@mail.mil or (801) 245-2889.