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Honor guard hosts first P-S GAR graduation

Airmen from the High Frontier Honor Guard demonstrate a casket carry during their graduation Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. This was the first graduation within the unit since the COVID-19 pandemic and the standup of the Peterson-Schriever Garrison. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Airmen from the High Frontier Honor Guard demonstrate a casket carry during their graduation Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. This was the first graduation within the unit since the COVID-19 pandemic and the standup of the Peterson-Schriever Garrison. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Airmen from the High Frontier Honor Guard prepare to post the colors during their graduation ceremony Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. This is the second graduation of the year for the High Frontier Honor Guard. The unit usually has three graduations each year, but moved to two because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Airmen from the High Frontier Honor Guard prepare to post the colors during their graduation ceremony Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. This is the second graduation of the year for the High Frontier Honor Guard. The unit usually has three graduations each year, but moved to two because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Airman 1st Class Cesar Chavez-Soto, High Frontier Honor Guard flight 20A flight lead, leads the graduates of flight 20B in the Honor Guard charge Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Despite the hardships 2020 has brought, the unit stays busy. In 2019, the High Frontier Honor Guard performed 473 services, 280 of those being funerals, with numbers projected to be similar at the end of this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Airman 1st Class Cesar Chavez-Soto, High Frontier Honor Guard flight 20A flight lead, leads the graduates of flight 20B in the Honor Guard charge Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Despite the hardships 2020 has brought, the unit stays busy. In 2019, the High Frontier Honor Guard performed 473 services, 280 of those being funerals, with numbers projected to be similar at the end of this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Thurman, High Frontier Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman, presents a flag during the graduation ceremony Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The ceremony recognized 17 Airmen who completed the training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Thurman, High Frontier Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman, presents a flag during the graduation ceremony Sept. 1, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The ceremony recognized 17 Airmen who completed the training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Senior Airman Billie Fisler, High Frontier Honor Guard flight lead and distinguished graduate, presents a folded flag to Col. Jennifer Fitch, Peterson-Schriever Garrison vice commander. The Honor Guard’s mission is to provide public and professional support to the community including retirement ceremonies and funerals, which the Honor Guard is congressionally mandated to support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Senior Airman Billie Fisler, High Frontier Honor Guard flight lead and distinguished graduate, presents a folded flag to Col. Jennifer Fitch, Peterson-Schriever Garrison vice commander. The Honor Guard’s mission is to provide public and professional support to the community including retirement ceremonies and funerals, which the Honor Guard is congressionally mandated to support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The High Frontier Honor Guard hosted its first graduation since the COVID-19 pandemic and the standup of the Peterson-Schriever Garrison Sept. 1 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

The honor guard provides public and professional support to the community including retirement ceremonies and veteran funerals.

“A lot of the services we do are the last things families see regarding the military,” said Staff. Sgt. Michael Vialpando, High Frontier Honor Guard program manager. “It's important for [families] to see us give the most respectful and proper honors they deserve.”

To become a ceremonial guardsmen at the unit, Airmen must complete a two-week, 80 hour course that covers basic protocol and a ceremonial course that teaches the Airmen how to give the proper honors at any ceremony they support.

Vialpando said there is a high attrition rate due to the intensive training. “It's not for everybody. When you do funerals, a lot of people can't bear the atmosphere. You have to have thick skin to be here. We can't have someone breakdown or lose their bearing during a service.”

Seventeen Airmen completed the training and many would describe the experience as humbling.

“With my training and the support of my team, I know we’re well equipped to provide world-class support whenever we’re tasked to,” said Senior Airman Billie Fisler, High Frontier Honor Guard flight lead and distinguished graduate.

Despite the challenges 2020 has brought, the unit stays busy. In 2019, the High Frontier Honor Guard performed 473 services, 280 of those being funerals, with numbers projected to be similar at the end of this year.

Col. Jennifer Fitch, P-S GAR vice commander and presiding officer, charged the graduates to continue perfecting the skills they have learned to honor service members and their families.

“What you do is incredible and meaningful to everyone you touch with your perfection,” she said.

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