McChord Field Honor Guard: Changing of the Guard

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Megan Geiger
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The McChord Field Honor Guard held a Hail and Farewell ceremony at the base theater at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, April 30, 2024.

The ceremony recognized the dedication and accomplishments of Honor Guard’s 2023 bravo flight and welcomed the incoming members of 2024 alpha flight.

The Honor Guard primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for our nation’s servicemembers who have passed, honoring their service, commitment and sacrifice.

The Honor Guard also attends honor ceremonies including the presentation of the colors, holiday ceremonies, honor cordons, Prisoner of War and Missing in Action table ceremonies.

“My Guardsmen always tell me they feel like they were a part of something bigger than themselves, sometimes for the first time since joining the Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Platte, McChord Field Honor Guard program manager. “The impact of their work providing honors to our nation’s heroes is immediately felt. Hearing about the lives and accomplishments of those they are tasked with honoring puts their own service into perspective, and I love seeing their eyes light up once that realization is made.”

An Honor Guard rotation is a six-month commitment and consists of 27-31 Airmen. On average, the Airmen attend 400-700 details per rotation, culminating in nearly 1,200 total details per year.

“I love this job,” said Platte. “Having the opportunity to impact the lives of almost 90 Airmen per year, and transforming them from maintainers, aerial porters, civil engineers, cyber technicians and more, into Ceremonial Guardsmen, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my military career to date. My mission, while somber at times, fills me with a sense of patriotic duty that has me hopping out of bed each morning, ready to serve.”

The McChord Field Honor Guard’s area of responsibility covers multiple counties in Washington and Oregon.

Rotations begin on the first duty day in May and November and include 10 additional training days prior to the official start date. 

“The best way to join is to speak to your leadership early about your interest, and again about one month out from the rotation start date as we begin asking the leaders of Team McChord for volunteers,” said Platte.