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Honoring with dignity

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Allyson Manners
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing
What is the Base Honor Guard?

There have been generations of proud citizens that have answered the call of duty and served our great country. Many brave people have laid down their lives to ensure our freedom. There are people who, at this very moment, are fighting for this country and everything that it stands for. These warriors - past and present- deserve many things for their sacrifice; but what they deserve most is honor. The United States Air Force Base Honor Guard was created for that purpose: to honor their comrades-in-arms with a fitting ceremony; a salute to their service. The USAF Base Honor Guard is an elite ceremonial unit that was created in 1948 by Headquarters Command at the 1100th Air Police Squadron in Bolling Field, Washington D.C. Set in place to pay homage to those who have served, Base Honor Guard units continue this tradition today through ceremonies such as POW/MIA presentations, military funerals, and colors presentations.

This tradition of honor also continues at the 171st Air Refueling Wing. The Base Honor Guard at the 171st is full of pride, with a motto of "To Honor With Dignity." Being in the Honor Guard truly requires outstanding devotion and commitment to duty. Many guardsmen are taking time away from their families and other commitments to make sure their comrades get the respect and honor that they deserve.

What types of ceremonies does the Base Honor Guard perform?

Base Honor Guard members participate in many different types of events, but there are two main types of ceremonies that they can perform. There are Honor Guard ceremonies and Color Guard ceremonies. The same team performs each event, but the ceremony will vary depending on the occasion. A Color Guard ceremony includes a presentation of the colors, or flags. Guardsmen are also considered to be doing a colors ceremony when they are marching with the colors in a parade. This type of ceremony is used for events such as sports pre-game shows, parades, and Commonwealth ceremonies.

An Honor Guard ceremony is just that - an honored event. The type of ceremony is used for only very special events such as a drill ceremony, wedding, or military funeral. Military members should be represented with honor, dignity, and pride. Events such as these were the main purpose for the creation of the Unites States Air Force Base Honor Guard. Honor Guard events, particularly a military funeral, may include a flag folding ceremony and a 21 gun salute. Every Honor Guard member would agree that this ceremony gives them an unspeakable pride for their comrades, their service, and the country that they serve.

What has the 171st Air Refueling Wing Base Honor Guard participated in?

The Base Honor Guard at the 171st Air Refueling Wing has participated in many exciting events, including MLB, NHL, and NFL pre-game colors presentations, and local military events such as the recent All Services Academies Ball which was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Guardsmen also participate in weddings and military funerals, parades and commonwealth ceremonies.

What can the 171st Air Refueling Wing Base Honor Guard do for you?

As service members of the Armed Forces, particularly the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, the Base Honor Guard members here at the 171st Air Refueling Wing are here to serve their country, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and you. If you are looking to have a ceremony to honor a loved one or to celebrate a special event, the 171st may be able to help. To schedule a Color Guard event, you may contact the Officer In Charge (OIC) of the 171st Air Refueling Wing Base Honor Guard, Captain Chris Preffer at the number listed below. For an Honor Guard ceremony you may also call this number but please be aware that to use the Honor Guard for a military funeral you must have a funeral director contact us. Most importantly, when you are thinking of choosing the 171st Air Refueling Wing Base Honor Guard to perform your honored event, remember their motto- "To Honor With Dignity." The 171st Air Refueling Wing Honor Guard continues to remain an icon of excellence, bringing pride to the Wing and the Pittsburgh area.

To schedule an event, please contact OIC Christopher Preffer at:

For more information on the USAF Base Honor Guard visit: