Honor Guard represents best of Travis

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Candy Knight
“To Honor with Dignity” is their motto.

Obligated by the oath to be constantly driven to excel and have a deep devotion to duty and a strong sense of dedication is part of their creed.

Representing every member, past and present, of the United States Air Force is what they do, for they are Ceremonial Guardsmen.

They are the men and women of the Travis Honor Guard, the 161-member team chosen to represent the men and women of Travis by performing in parades, serving as color guards and rendering the final salute to those who have served the armed forces honorably.

“Being a part of the Honor Guard team takes dedication and commitment,” said Master Sgt. Roy Dietz, Honor Guard superintendent. “The dedication that this team has is amazing. They are highly motivated, enthusiastic and professional and they give 150 percent every time.”

The team consists of six flights, with 15 to 18 Airmen per flight.

“The flights consist of active-duty enlisted, Reservists and officers from 40 different units and three wings. The support we get from our Reservists and officers really sets us apart from the other Air Force bases’ honor guards,” said Sergeant Dietz.

“It’s a very gratifying and humbling experience to be an officer and participate in the honor guard’s noble mission,” said Capt. Mark Ballesteros, honor guard member from the 60th Air Mobility Wing.

“Seeing the professionalism and dedication of each honor guard member day in and day out inspires a great deal of pride in me and all who wear the honor guard patch,” he added.

Having a dependable team is a must due to the high demand for Travis Honor Guard.

In 2005, the team performed duties at 648 funerals and 349 military functions in a 45,000 square mile radius in 28 different counties, many times providing these services at least five times a day.

In addition, they performed color guard duties for California major sporting events and also during the NFL’s Hall-of-Fame parade in Canton, Ohio.

The team trains many Travis Team members in proper military protocol for retirement ceremonies as well as training local law enforcement and fire departments how to perform proper honors during a funeral.

“The team also visits elementary schools and local cub scout meetings to teach them flag etiquette and how to fold the flag properly,” said Sergeant Dietz.

Becoming a member of the honor guard is not as easy as just completing the application.

All applicant inquires are directed through the interested individual’s first sergeant.

After being selected, applicants go through a demanding week of training where they learn flag folding, color guard duties, retirement and funeral ceremony requirements and precision marching movements.

After the training, the new members receive their uniforms and are assigned to a flight.

According to Master Sgt. Carol Robideaux, honor guard member from the 349th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, being a member of the honor guard has left a significant impact on her.

“I joined [in 2001] because there was a need. I stayed because of the heartfelt feeling and the gratitude I receive from family members when their love ones are laid to rest with the proper honor, dignity and respect they deserve for serving our country honorably,” she said.

Sergeant Robideaux sentiment is echoed by Captain Ballesteros.

“I’m privileged to be a member of the Travis Honor Guard. Paying tribute to a fallen comrade through the presentation of military honors is the most important thing we do,” he said.

Whether it is performing their duties in the cold winter storms, harsh California sun or in front of thousands of screaming fans, Sergeant Robideaux says it is all worth it.

“It is the feeling you get knowing that everyday you have done a good deed and have represented Travis and the Air Force well,” she said.

For more information about joining the Travis Honor Guard, call Sergeant Dietz at 424-5872.