Behind the bayonets: Drill Team maintains professional, personnel readiness

Senior Airman Raymond Testo, USAF Honor Guard Drill Team member, takes a practice test while studying for an upcoming WAPS test on a flight from Andrews AFB. Md., to Los Angeles, Calif., 15 April 2007.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Senior Airman Raymond Testo, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team member, takes a practice test while studying for an upcoming Weighted Airman Promotion System test on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to Los Angeles, Calif., April 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

Senior Airmen Timothy Treadway and Jermaine James, Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team members, discuss Air Force opportunities and experiences with students from Lancaster HS, Calif. following their 16 Man performance during their California Tour.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Senior Airmen Timothy Treadway (left) and Jermaine James, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team members, discuss Air Force opportunities and experiences with students from Lancaster High School, Lancaster, Calif.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

Members of the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team gather together for their unit cheer just before stepping for their performance at Lancaster HS, Calif.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team gather for their unit cheer just before their performance at Lancaster High School, Lancaster, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

Members of the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team conduct a group physical training session outside the High Desert Inn at Edwards AFB, Calif. on their recent tour.  Often on the road, these Airmen make use of whatever running and workout space is available to ensure they stay "fit to fight" even as they visit AF bases across the country. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team conduct a group physical training session outside the High Desert Inn at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. on their recent tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

Members of the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, with guidon in hand, take off for a formation run while visiting at Edwards AFB, Calif. on 18 April 2007.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, with guidon in hand, take off for a formation run while visiting at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., April 18. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

Members of the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team conduct the debrief at the end of their duty day during their recent California Tour.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team conduct a debriefing at the end of the duty day during their recent California Tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs for the students at Desert HS at Edwards AFB, Calif.  The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs for the students at Desert High School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., April 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs their 16 Man drill routine at Disneyland Resort in Aneheim, Calif., 18 April 2007. The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission.

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs their 16-man drill sequence at Walt Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., April 18. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs their 16 Man drill sequence at Disneyland Resort in Aneheim, Calif., 18 April 2007. The Drill Team is the traveling component of the Air Force Honor Guard and tours Air Force bases world wide showcasing the precision of today's Air Force to recruit, retain, and inspire Airmen for the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)(Released)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs their 16-man drill sequence at Walt Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., April 18. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel R. DeCook)

BOLLING AFB, D.C. -- Spinning rifles with precision, standing in the public eye presenting the crisp Air Force image, to support the never-ending Air Force mission of recruiting, retention and inspiration, the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team embarked on yet another cross-country journey, this time to California.

The Drill Team performed at Edwards AFB, Calif., two local high schools in the Edwards area, the famed Walt Disneyland Resort, and on the set of the feature film "Iron Man."

With days packed full of performances, practices and long bus and plane rides, the Drill Team still finds time to keep up with the things important to an Airman's career. And with the current emphasis on physical training and education, there is not much time for fun and games.

After driving 20 minutes from the Air Force Honor Guard's home base at Bolling to Andrews AFB, Md., many senior airmen testing for staff sergeant in the coming months had some serious study time during the six-hour military air flight to the Los Angeles area. Promotion Fitness Examination study guides and study software were abundant, along with audio tapes and practice tests, as the team set out on its 17th temporary duty assignment since the beginning of their performance season, in late November 2006.

The Honor Guard's recruiting team, a part of the Drill Team, made final preparations for the events at Edwards on the flight to California, and the Drill Team's leadership took the time away from e-mails and phone calls to coordinate details for future tours in May and June.

"It is very difficult to study with the draining and fast-paced schedule we keep," said Senior Airman Adam Clonick, drill team member. "The extreme concentration that goes into one of our performances doesn't leave a lot of mental energy for studying. But I know if I don't do it while I'm on the road, it will be impossible for me to keep up with my peers."

Although the performances are physically taxing, it is also important for the Drill Team to find time for physical training. The entire team gets together at the end of each day for group PT. After a quick warm-up, they do push-ups and sit-ups. Then, with an Honor Guard guidon in hand, the team sets out for a two-and-half-mile formation run, despite the intense heat of the Mohave Desert.

"The Air Force has set a high standard for us to keep in order to be mission ready, and it requires more attention than just a few times while we are at our home base," said Senior Airman Issac Kendrick, drill team member. "The formation run is a great way for us to stay in performance condition and make sure we are always ready, because the Honor Guard has PT testing not just once like most organizations, but we test twice per year."

Airmen across the globe often make sacrifices to meet the expectations of being Air Force members. And as one of the most visible and recognizable units across the Air Force, drill team Airmen are no exception. So, it's no surprise that just as the Honor Guard touts its mission, the Airmen on the Drill Team represent everyone in the Air Force who, despite the long and exhausting duty days and personal or family sacrifices, keep focused on successful mission accomplishment.