Misawa honor guard gets more funds, larger facility
Stars and Stripes May 20, 2008
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Staff Sgt. Curtis Wynn is most pleased with the freshly coated white wall with blue trim.
A small detail, but attention to the little things is what the honor guard prides itself on.
A year ago, there was no new paint. Space was cramped and mold was a problem.
But the Misawa honor guard is finally getting some respect of its own.
A shot of much-needed funding — about $25,000 — from the base and the keys to a bigger facility were a morale booster, honor guardsmen say, an improvement they hope will entice more to join their volunteer ranks.
"It is a major upgrade," Wynn said.
Home for the honor guard is now a bay warehouse in Building 1006. The guardsmen share space with an Air Mobility Command detachment, but there’s plenty of room to go around, they said.
"We’re going to get mirrored walls so we can perfect our moves," Wynn said. Base civil engineers are going to build a mock stage.
The group is looking for 10 to 15 new members, a need driven by the impending loss of six ceremonial guardsmen by fall and a demanding schedule of military retirement, graduation, promotion and other special ceremonies.
"On a given day, we can do two to four details," Wynn said.
Capt. Ed McDaniel, Misawa honor guard commander, said being on the team is an opportunity "to be above and beyond." Guardsmen hone their attention to detail and gain espirit de corps, he said.
Active-duty members from any branch of service can join. Two sailors are part of the base honor guard, which currently stands at 26 guardsmen, and "we’re recruiting an Army member," Wynn said.
Ranks E-1 to E-6 may sign on for a minimum one-year commitment. Practice is every Wednesday from 7 to 9 a.m. Detail participation is voluntary, but members are asked to be part of 25 per year, Wynn said.
Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Smith, on the team for a year and a half, said he’s enjoyed the experience because of the emphasis on drill, ceremony and customs such as paying respect to the flag.
"It reminds you why we’re in the military, why we’re doing all this," he said.
For more information on the Misawa honor guard, call DSN 226-2880 or e-mail email@example.com.