HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

USAF Honor Guard Drill Team builds new routine, bonds

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team members meet with Keesler leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen following the debut performance of their 2019 routine on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 8, 2019. The team comes to Keesler every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team members meet with Keesler Air Force Base leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen following the debut performance of their 2019 routine on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler AFB, Miss., Feb. 8, 2019. The team travels to Keesler AFB every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Prophet, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team superintendent, participates in the debut performance of the team's 2019 routine in front of Keesler leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 8, 2019. The team comes to Keesler every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Master Sgt. Jason Prophet, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team superintendent, participates in the debut performance of the team's 2019 routine in front of Keesler Air Force Base leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler AFB, Miss., Feb. 8, 2019. The team comes to Keesler AFB every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Colby Marshall, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team member, participates in the debut performance of the team's 2019 routine in front of Keesler leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 8, 2019. The team comes to Keesler every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Senior Airman Colby Marshall, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team member, participates in the debut performance of the team's 2019 routine in front of Keesler Air Force Base leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler AFB, Miss., Feb. 8, 2019. The team travels to Keesler AFB every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team debuts their 2019 routine in front of Keesler leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 8, 2019. The team comes to Keesler every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzie Plotnikov)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team debuts their 2019 routine in front of Keesler Air Force Base leadership and 81st Training Group Airmen on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler AFB, Miss., Feb. 8, 2019. The team travels to Keesler AFB every year for five weeks to develop a new routine that they will use throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzie Plotnikov)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- “It’s hard,” said Senior Airman Darren Lawrence. “There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into it.”

Originally stationed in Washington, D.C., the U.S Air Force Honor Guard drill team travels to Keesler Air Force Base for five weeks at the beginning of every year to develop and perfect their new routine. They practice formations, steps and sequences to prepare for the unveiling of the routine they will perform throughout the year all over the world.

As the Honor Guard drill team lead trainer, Lawrence is responsible for creating the routine from scratch. He teaches the rest of the team new sequences, how to perform them and where to step.

With such little time to perfect a routine, the members need to be focused day in and day out.

“When we’re back at the squadron, people who are not on our team may distract us but when we’re here it’s just us,” Lawrence said. “It’s the drill team all working toward one common goal, which is perfecting the sequence that we’re going to be doing for this year.”

Before the drill team even comes to Keesler AFB, Lawrence already has a drill routine in mind and mapped out on a piece of paper. Even though he is prepared for it on paper, not everything goes according to plan.

“They have a decent idea of what they want before they arrive, but then once we start putting all the pieces together and performing the routine, some things don’t work out,” said Master Sgt. Jason Prophet, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team superintendent.

The first thing Lawrence did was come up with formations.

“In this drill we have about nine different formations,” Lawrence said. “Once we have the formations, we put them in an order that makes sense to where you can get in the correct positions. After we figure out all the steps, we introduce some sequences, how we throw the weapon and finally we put the whole thing together.”

According to Lawrence, the five-week drill camp is the best team-building event throughout the year. One that is necessary for the team’s success.

“This gives us an opportunity to bond as a team because we really have to trust our teammates to spin a rifle in close proximity,” Prophet said.

The team uses an M-1 rifle when practicing and performing their routine for the year which could cause injury if they’re not careful.

“In the drill team you face injuries,” Prophet said. “I mean you’re spinning weapons and some of them sustain wrist injuries and shoulder injuries. We try our best to prevent those by resting, stretching and simply by taking care of their bodies, but minor injuries are inevitable in this duty. The only part worse than the injuries is seeing your Airmen that want to perform but can’t because of their injury. They really enjoy working beside their peers.”

Prophet adds that after five long, hard-working weeks, it is rewarding to perform the drill they came up with.

“My favorite part of camp is the camaraderie we build,” Lawrence said. “It’s just seeing people grow individually as drillers and seeing our team as a whole become more tight-knit.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @ViperDemoTeam: Although it's not quite time for the #AFFlyover at the #Indy500, our team has still been busy! Just ask Devin Funchess!…
Where is home for you? For Senior Airman Krizelle Bermejo, home is where her family is -- Charlotte, North Carolin… https://t.co/gUXDNoNCys
RT @USAFHealth: The 8th MDG partnered with medical personnel at Wonkwang University Medical Center to test how both parties could work toge…
.@Creech_AFB #Airman & #Civilians recently achieved 4 Million flying hours in our #USAF Remotely piloted Aircraft… https://t.co/CHDeMNZFKa
#Watch these #Airman assigned to The Homeland Response Force train with local, state & federal emergency managers a… https://t.co/3sFd2BAvnf
.@Hanscom_AFB's #energy initiative has #USAF seeking industry input while exploring opportunities for wholistic ene… https://t.co/WaBaH1cgNr
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to announce the #USAF cut 100.5 years off unnecessary schedules from #acquisition programs. This is how we are fie…
RT @cmsaf18: What a great way to pay tribute to an incredible Airman and teammate: Purple Heart recipient Dylan Elchin's name to be display…
#USAF #Ophthalmologists provide comprehensive care to 262 #Guyanese civilians. These vision care specialists can tr… https://t.co/91L9t51sHY
#Airmen maintain #F16 Fighting Falcons at Campia Turzii, #Romania, as part of Theater Security Package 19.1. They h… https://t.co/0pAANJMo3j
A new travel payment process for pipeline students, initiated by the #AirForce Installation and Mission Support Cen… https://t.co/OcQzldU3OK
.@PACAF Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met with Mongolian & US senior leaders, affirming their growing partnership.… https://t.co/Pg5Ma2NFUQ
Nondestructive inspection specialists identify possible defects in systems & equipment before anything can become a… https://t.co/7OHMrlLE39
.@SecAFOfficial praises #Airmen, expresses gratitude in farewell remarks reflecting on her tenure as #AirForce secr… https://t.co/bv177Nr7nk
.@SecAFOfficial was honored during a celebration ceremony @Andrews_JBA May 21, 2019, an event which highlighted her… https://t.co/tMSo0I8KxO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen & families serving around the world for the #USAF. https://t.co/CYWpd8Aeuh
Today #USAF celebrates the rapid innovations and accomplishments of @SecAFOfficial, the Honorable Heather Wilson.… https://t.co/dVQM3A5DWF
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to have had the opportunity to be your wingman. https://t.co/gDMUq5yA7L