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Goodfellow Airman selected for Air Force Honor Guard

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anne Gathua
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
It takes all his effort just to keep his heart beating, but he knows he must, because someone else's is breaking. 

He stood his post without a word or movement for a long time. But now, the lingering sounds of the ceremonial rifle shots and the sad, lonely bugle have echoed into silence. Everything which needs to be said has been said. 

Except for what he must say now. 

The Airman performs a facing movement, kneels, his blue trousers with the silver stripe gently touching the grass. The sun glints off the silver aiguillette on his left shoulder, the Hap Arnold insignia on the hat of his uniform and in the quivering tears of the woman in her forties who sits in front of him. 

His voice breaks the gentle silence. This, he knows, is the hardest part of all. 

"On behalf of the President of the United States of America, the Department of the Air Force and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of your loved one." 

With those words, the Airman gently hands a folded flag to the grieving woman, the wife of an Air Force veteran who died recently. She grasps the flag and the Airman's hands tightly. 

That's how Senior Airman Chance Borgeson describes serving at a funeral. Airman Borgeson, 17th Medical Operations Squadron, public health technician and member of the Goodfellow Air Force Base Honor Guard. 

The Goodfellow Honor Guard member has honored many fallen veterans during the two years he's served on the detail. Soon, he will continue his service as a member of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., early 2010.
Airman Borgeson said presenting the flag to the next of kin is always the most emotional part. 

"The next of kin seems to always tightly grasp your hands and look at you with tears in their eyes," Airman Borgeson said. "I remember once a widow I presented the flag to was sobbing uncontrollably. She looked to be in her 40's and was very sad she lost her husband so early in life." 

"Things like that remind me of our mortality and how precious life is, which in turn, makes it that much harder to keep our bearing, but we must," he said. "It is always an emotional but very rewarding experience. The honor guard detail not only shows gratitude, but gives the family a lasting impression of the Air Force. The honor guard is near and dear to my heart." 

Airman Borgeson said he was elated when he found out he had been selected.
"My heart was pounding about a million beats per second," he said. "Joining the USAF Honor Guard is a dream come true. This was my goal since I joined the base honor guard two years ago." 

According to their Web site, the Air Force Honor Guard is composed of volunteers who are carefully screened for their physical ability and dexterity. Only those Airmen who are highly motivated and maintain exceptionally high standards of appearance and conduct and show aptitude for ceremonial duty are considered. 

Staff Sgt. Josue Perez, 17th MDOS, said Airman Borgeson exemplifies what the Air Force is all about and believes he was considered because of his excellent work ethic, good character, morals and values. 

"As his supervisor, I saw the love and dedication he exhibited toward the base honor guard," Sergeant Perez said. "He has a passion for what he does."
Master Sgt. Jeffrey Draper, Honor Guard superintendent, echoed Sgt. Perez's sentiments. 

"I can always count on Airman Borgeson to get the job done," Sergeant Draper said. "He has a heartfelt passion for what he does." 

Airman Borgeson earned numerous awards, including Airman of the Quarter 2009, Honor Guard of the Quarter and Honor Guard of the Month October 2008, as well as April and July 2009. 

The accolades and achievements, however, take a back seat to what Senior Airman Borgeson said he believes is the most important aspect of his life. 

"God is the only reason why I'm here," he said. "Put your trust and faith in him and he will watch your every step and work miracles in your life. 

The senior airman added success comes by choosing the right attitude. 

"Do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about," Airman Borgeson said. "Pursue your goals and dreams. When you're put into a position where you don't particularly like what you're doing, try and stay positive and you'll go places."