Honor Guard member completes 100th detail

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristina Overton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Known for their exceptionally high standards of appearance, precision and military bearing, the honor guard represents the base by performing ceremonial details and events for functions both on and off of the installation. On May 17, one of those members were recognized for completing a recorded 100 details with the base honor guard here at Malmstrom.

Staff Sgt. Elijah Leonard, 341st Missile Wing contractor escort, has been a part of the base honor guard for six years.

"Even though my job keeps me pretty busy, I still find time to do honor guard in my spare time," said Sergeant Leonard. "Details can be anything from funerals, color details, retirement ceremonies and change of commands to award ceremonies and off base engagements all across the state."

Honor guard is a volunteer based duty, but members are screened and must be proficient in their knowledge of colors, the firing party and pall bearing in order to be an official member.

Prior to joining the military honor guard, Sergeant Leonard gained experience through four years of JROTC, drill team and color guard in high school. Though he enjoyed his experience serving on the various teams, his initial reason for joining rested a little closer to home.

"My older brother was on the drill team in high school, and he used to be in the backyard spinning a broomstick practicing and I thought it was so cool," Sergeant Leonard said. "You know how little brothers look up to their big brothers. Ultimately I decided it was what I wanted to do, and got into it as soon as I started high school."

Even in high school, Sergeant Leonard was very adamant about performing military details correctly, and often volunteered putting up the flag every morning. His senior year, he received the Patriotic Award for services he'd done throughout his high school career.
With his attention to detail and love of service, it's no surprise that he became one of Malmstrom's honor guard trainers in May 2005, and head trainer in September 2005.

"I'm really passionate and dedicated about honor guard," Sergeant Leonard said. "What's more is that I know by personal experience what the person I'm honoring gave up or has done for the Air Force. The sacrifices they made as far as family and their free time. I would say the biggest reward of being in the honor guard is honoring someone. Having the responsibility and opportunity to honor the people who gave their service and even their lives for our country. I'm really touched by what we do."

Taking part in the base honor guard also assisted Sergeant Leonard in becoming a better Airman and supervisor in the Air Force.

"Being a part of the honor guard teaches you how to always be on your toes and ready for anything, Sergeant Leonard said. " You learn to adjust quickly to certain environments. You learn professionalism, drills and ceremonies, and it also helps you out in your career. You're more aware of customs and courtesies and you gain more of an
awareness of what exactly we do."

For more information about the Malmstrom honor guard, call Master Sgt. Jeffery Parker at 731-2831.