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Staff Sgt. Jimmie Pryor, a U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team trainer, helps make sure other members conduct drill procedures correctly and are prepared the day of performance. The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard’s main objective is to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson)
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U.S. Air Force Honor Guard visits Sheppard

Posted 9/9/2013   Updated 9/9/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airmen 1st Class Jelani Gibson
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

9/9/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The tip of a bayonet slices through fluorescent lights, and the rifle it sits upon somersaults through the air, landing into a white-gloved hand.

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard performed here Sept. 5, in front of a captivated crowd of Airmen who recently graduated from basic training.

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington D.C., is the Air Force's premier honor guard, and performs throughout the U.S. in public venues to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen.

"It's a humbling and honoring experience," said 1st Lt. Michael Lemorie, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard commander. "We represent every Airman past and present."

As members practiced their drill moves before performing in front of dozens of Airmen, each movement they made was conducted with a sense of urgency and focus.

"Resiliency is key," Lemorie said. "We train ourselves to focus on the technicality of the mission."

Lemorie treasures his role as an honor guardsmen and the bond he has made with the members under his command.

"This is something that is very special to me," he said. "We have a very strong family bond."

Another member of that very family, Staff Sgt. Jimmie Pryor, a drill team trainer from Cincinnati, Ohio, knew he wanted to be a part of the Air Force's top honor guard back in basic military training. When he saw an Airmen break one of their fingers and continue flawlessly with the performance, he admired their precision and work ethic.

"I needed to instill that discipline in myself," he said. "Whatever he went through I wanted to go through."

Awestruck by the sight of the performance, Pryor knew automatically what it he was wanted to do in the Air Force.

"It was just a sight to see," he said. "I got talked into the honor guard then and there."

Of the four-and-a-half years Pryor has served, he has spent four of them as an honor guardsman.

"It's amazing," he said. "It's definitely a life-changing experience."

Moments before the group went onstage to perform, each guardsman bowed their heads in unison as a tranquil silence swept the room. As each hand joined together, prayers were uttered against the crowd and bright lights that awaited them outside. The pressure was on and each performer was ready to go.

"It's a little bit of an out-of-body experience," said Pryor.

As the Airmen finish their performance, applause erupts throughout the theater and the guardsmen, with practiced precision leave the stage for a moment that they consider more than a job, but a way of life.

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