Tag Archives: usaf

The Air Force Baser Honor Guard Badge

The Base Honor Guard (BHG) Badge, known as the “Cookie” is a device that only Active Duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen wear when they are assigned to a BHG. Not even retirees can wear it unless they are actively working with a BHG.

I went through two weeks of honor guard training many years ago (1990) when I was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. I then spent about fourteen of my twenty years of Active Duty on several BHGs around the globe and even attended Air Force Honor Guard training in Washington DC in 2002. I had to meet certain criteria for award of my BHG Cookie as all Airmen have to. In a personal way, the Cookie is “my” badge and all Airmen who have gone through the training and qualified can call it “my badge” as well.

BHG PictureThe picture at right is of a Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany) Honor Guard presenting the colors at St. Mihiel WWI American Military Cemetery in France in 2010, five years after I retired. I am the NCT and my friends and colleagues are with me. We are all wearing our uniform accouterments (which color bearers no longer wear) including our Cookies. You can see them on our left breast pockets of our blouses. I actually trained the two guards and knew they were qualified to wear their BHG Cookies.

What does BHG training entail so that a graduate of the training is then awarded and authorized to wear the Cookie? The training last at least 40 hours and consists of:

  1. What we call Standing Manual
  2. Colors
  3. Firing party
  4. Pall Bearers (including 2- and 6-man* Flag Fold) *”man” means position.

There are also small bases in the Air Force, mostly overseas, that are not authorized a BHG, but have what is called a Base Color Guard that is aligned under a BHG (the Spangdahlem BHG has at least one BCC at a location in Belgium). A BCC, is a small unit that is not authorized to wear the complete BHG uniform, but a variation of the standard AF uniform with the BHG aiguillette and Cookie. Any Airman assigned to either of these two units, who has gone through the training and qualified, may then wear the BHG Cookie on their BHG or BCC uniform. When they are assigned to the BHG, but not on rotation and are in blues, they may also wear the Cookie. When not assigned to a BHG, an Airman may not wear the Cookie- which is why I do not wear mine.

JROTC cadets wearing BHG CookieWhat is quite troubling to me is seeing Air Force Junior ROTC cadets wearing “my” badge. This is absolutely inexcusable with some equating it to Stolen Valor. I don’t know if I would go that far, but I have a very stern opinion about the wear of my badge by high school cadets.

Click here to see that I have dealt with this before and the picture at left, above, is what started it. The team finally realized after much discussion back and forth that they had absolutely no authority whatsoever to wear the Cookie.

Cadet BHG Cookie - CopyThe cadet at right chose to block another cadet on Instagram who was trying to communicate to her that the Cookie that she has on her uniform is not authorized for cadets to wear. Many cadets, possibly out of arrogance, do not want to listen to anyone who says that what they are doing could possibly be wrong.

“Root Step” and Command Pronunciation

When we give commands to a formation, the words and your voice need to have several different attributes (click here for complete information on the command voice).

One of the attributes that is never addressed is how to pronounce certain words. The two words that are constantly butchered by cadets and members of the military are Route and Oblique.

command_voice_fig_2_2The Root of the Issue
While anyone can get their, “kicks on Route 66,” that version of the word is usually pronounced “root.” When one is calling the command, Route Step, MARCH, this time it is pronounced “Rowt.” By the way, the “Harch” in the image is how Air Force members can call, “March”. All other services say, “March”. The image is from the AFMAN 36-2203 which began back in the late 1940s as AFR 50-14.

“I like Oblike”
The ObliqueA flank turns a formation to the right or left at 90-degrees, and an oblique pronounced “oh-bleek,” turns a formation to the right or left at a 45-degree angle. From the MCOP5060.20: “The word oblique is pronounced to rhyme with strike. ”

So, if you march in a Marine, Navy or Coast Guard unit, pronounce it the way the MCOP dictates. The rest of us can click here and listen to the pronunciation of oblique at m-w.com.

Now you know!

What Base Honor Guard Members Need to Know: Uniform Trousers

Base Honor Guard After Posting the Colors at Rhein Mein in 2010
Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard After Posting the Colors at Rhein Mein in 2010

The Air Force Base Honor Guard (BHG) uniform is a modified standard USAF uniform. Stripes, an aiguillette, BHG arc and sewn creases are added like in the picture at right (that’s me, second from the left).

You may notice that the right rifle guard’s stripe on his trouser leg is slightly bunched. This is a rampant problem with BHGs around the world. Have a look at the picture below. That looks extraordinarily poor.

Screwey BHG Stripe

The stripe is supposed to be as smooth as possible, like the left rifle guard’s stripe in the picture at the top. So, why is this happening? Those who are sewing on the stripes are pulling the trouser leg much too much while sewing on the stripes. This causes bunching of the stripe as pictured above.

The Fix is in
The BHG member in charge of issuing uniforms and the NCOIC/Superintendent all need to visit the seamstress/tailor where the uniforms are altered and explain exactly how the uniforms are put together and how to obtain the perfect look. That is, if it hasn’t already been accomplished.

When I was on the BHG at Spangdahlem (as a retiree, mind you), we knew our seamstress and her coworkers by name and had an excellent relationship with them. When we graduated a T-Flight, we would escort all of the graduates over to the tailor shop and ensure all was squared away for each graduate individually. Yes, this takes time, but the outcome is as close to perfection as one can come.

All the best to my brothers- and sisters-in-arms and especially my fellow Ceremonial Guardsmen.

Lying, Stolen Valor and the Cost

Stolen Valor DirtbagThree percent of the American populace has served in the military. Just three percent. Men and women have died for America. Many of our Three Percent have either made the ultimate sacrifice or have returned from a conflict with some sort of disability

Disabled Veterans
I am a disabled vet. I retired from the USAF in 2005 after 20 years and have a disability rating from the Veteran’s Administration that is relatively high. I am embarrassed at that rating when I see other disabled veterans, who are blind, missing limbs or more. I would never dare to pretend to be more than I am by even wearing another ribbon or badge on my Air Force uniform that I did not earn.

I am amazed at how some people can play dress-up, receive accolades from the military-loving public and then either run and hide or try to justify their actions when they are caught. The young man in the picture, the “CPL-SGT-1LT”, above has everything wrong with his uniform. It is not necessary to point out everything line-by-line. Maybe the young lady has been duped by him or maybe she is complicit, that is not what matters, what matters is the damage that is done.

I could go off on a tangent of calling these people dirt bags and much more, but that has already been done by countless other veterans. These pretenders are stealing each minute that they keep up the charade. It is truly pathetic.

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stolen-valor-SF-phonyThe Cost
There is a cost associated with lying like this. I have a short story to tell you to help relate the meaning of what this cost is. I have a friend who has a serious condition that has rendered him disabled. It is a private matter for him and he does not discuss it with strangers or even acquaintences, only close friends of which I am one. He was once approached by another and asked what he does for a living. My friend replied that he is disabled and the other man asked if it was military related. My friend affirmed that it was even though he has never been in the military. His thinking was that the subject would be dropped and he would not have to explain any more than that. He was wrong. The lie went deeper and my friend was truly embarrassed and then confessed the lie to me. He said that he never meant to lie, just try to avoid a delicate topic which went completely in the wrong direction. In confessing to me he said he didn’t understand why he felt such a strong desire to tell me even though he was mortified in doing so. I told him why he needed to do it, besides that fact that he is a man of God and needed to confess, he also needed to know that each time someone lies about military service, even those who have served who then wear more rank or “cool” badges, each lie does personal damage to veterans. It cheapens our sacrifice. Military service is a sacrifice, though the level of sacrifice differs between service members of each branch.

What about the DrillMaster’s Uniform?
This is a logical question and I appreciate it. My work is unusual, there isn’t a precedent of what I do: training JROTC units and other cadet programs along with first responder (police, fire and EMS) honor guard units. These roles require a uniform and I created a service uniform and wear the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) and also a blue fatigue uniform. For more information on the uniforms I wear, click here.

stolen valor thief

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013

Below is a summary of the Act, the text is here.

Stolen Valor Act of 2013 – Amends the federal criminal code to rewrite provisions relating to fraudulent claims about military service to subject to a fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both an individual who, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds himself or herself out to be a recipient of:

  • a Congressional Medal of Honor,
  • a distinguished-service cross,
  • a Navy cross,
  • an Air Force cross,
  • a silver star,
  • a Purple Heart,
  • a Combat Infantryman’s Badge,
  • a Combat Action Badge,
  • a Combat Medical Badge,
  • a Combat Action Ribbon,
  • a Combat Action Medal, or
  • any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law.

A little bit of comedic relief:

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Lying, Stolen Valor, air force, military, army, navy, marine corps, marines, coast guard, usaf, usmc, usn, uscg

The Cadet Series: American Military Cadets

A little-known program, but quickly gaining more and more exposure, is the American Military Cadet Corps (AMCC). It is just like US Navy Sea Cadets or Civil Air Patrol, but for the Army and like Sea Cadets, USAC offers hands-on real-world training just like Soldiers get. Pardon the expression but, USAC is Army JROTC on steroids.

Strength and Honor!
This motto is introduced to every cadet and adult volunteer, and they men it. Unlike the other non-JROTC cadet programs, AMCC cadre (adult volunteers) are brought on board as officers OR enlisted. At the time of this writing, I happen to be a AMCC Staff Sergeant (SSG). Why go the enlisted route? It’s up to the individual. Many who are already retired enlisted, choose to remain enlisted since that is where they can make the biggest impact- working day-to-day with the cadets. That is not to say that AMCC officers do not have an impact, but the enlisted side is usually more hands-on on a daily basis.

A Navy History?
Yes, AMCC, (formerly Army Cadets or USAC) actually began as a Navy-based program and then became the American Cadet Alliance which had Navy, Marines and Army cadets.

From the AMCC website:

The American Military Cadet Corps (AMCC) traces its heritage to the early days of the 20th century, making us the oldest nationwide Cadet program still existing today.  Our history and culture are steeped in the oldest traditions of Cadetting.  In those days, a group of veterans chose to create a military-style youth organization to give the young men of their community a chance for adventure.  The program was Navy based and taught boys good citizenship and patriotism.  This idea was the foundation of both the Boy Scouts of America and the American Cadet Alliance (ACA), the predecessor to the AMCC.

The American Cadet Alliance was founded as Colonel Cody’s Boy Scouts, by CAPT James H.C. Smyth on April 10, 1909, at the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, NY. April 10 is celebrated as the birthday of the Corps.

In 1911, the organization split into two organizations:  the Boy Scouts of America and the American Naval and Marine Scouts.  On Aug. 16, 1927, the American Naval and Marine Scouts was incorporated in New York state as the New York Junior Naval Militia.  Early in 1929, the organization split and Commodore Smyth and a number of senior officers left and on Feb. 19, 1929, incorporated the Junior Naval Reserve.

A Unique Situation
Unlike Sea Cadets, Young Marines and the CAP, AMCC is also part of Forest Hill Military Academy a full-time boarding and day school located in Millersburg, KY. Read more here.

Got Training?
They have training! Take a look at the summer 2015 training schedule: (contact me for special “DrillMaster Reduced Fees”!)

Troop Handlers Course ……………………………………. Jun 14-20
Basic Cadet Training – Session 1……………………… Jun 21- Jul 4
Basic Cadet Training – Session 2 …………………….. Jul 5 – 18
Basic Leaders Course …………………………………………Jul 5 – 18
Cadet Combat Engineers Course …………………… Jul 5 – 25
Cadet Ranger Challenge ………………………………….. Jul 5-25
Cadet Ranger School ………………………………………… Jul 26 – Aug 16
Tactical Leaders Course …………………………………… Jul 19 – Aug 2
Cadet Equestrian Program (NEW!!) ……………… July 26 – Aug 2
Cadet Military Police Academy……………………….. Aug 2 – 16
Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy …. Aug 2 – 16
Cadet Military Combatives Program ……………… Aug 2 – 8
Cadet Medic School (NEW!!) …………………………… Aug 2 – 8
Cadet Airborne Jump School (NEW!!) …………… Aug 9-15

Cadet Airborne School. Watch the AMCC site for updates!

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