Andrews Elite Gate Guards make lasting impressions
By Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Porter, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 19, 2012
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- A first impression can quickly turn into a lasting impression. From the way a person carries themselves, down to the way they simply look, a first impression often shapes how a person and their affiliates are perceived. When entering a military installation, the keepers of these first and lasting impressions tend to fall on the hands of the installation's gate guards.
For Joint Base Andrews, 11th Security Forces Squadron gate guards here have taken steps to improve and renew Andrews' first impression. Reinitiating a uniform reminiscent of Strategic Air Command's 1950's Elite Guard and Drill Team, Andrews' gate guards have taken on a new name, a new uniform and a new way of having personnel view the base and the Air Force.
"To be considered for the position of an Andrews Elite Gate Guardsman, an 11 SFS Airman has to have an excellent PT score, no outstanding disciplinary violations, and most importantly, be motivated to personify the best face of Andrews and the Air Force daily," said Tech. Sgt. Gero, 11th Security Forces Elite Gate Guard NCO in charge.
Donning white spider-laced black boots, dark blue berets and white ascots and gloves, Andrews' Elite Gate Guards hold high standards of uniform integrity. This one-of-a-kind look was first seen during the Cold War when Gen. Curtis LeMay implemented the first Elite Gate Guard at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Offutt's elite guard was originally used as "Palace Guard" security for SAC headquarters buildings and also provided honors for visiting SAC dignitaries and drill team exhibitions.
"There are only 63 members of Andrews' Elite Gate Guard," said Gero. "This job is a one-year special duty assignment and 11 SFS members had to submit a package to be considered for the position. We really wanted to separate Andrews from other bases and since this is the first time Andrews will have an Elite Gate Guard, we only wanted to put our best of the best out on the gates."
Airman 1st Class Blake Miller, Andrews Elite Gate Guard, reacts to his new elite position with pride.
"Wearing this uniform lets me know that I'm a part of history," said Miller. "Not only am I representing my squadron and section, I'm a first face for Andrews and potentially the entire Air Force. Being an Elite Gate Guard to me is all about pride. If I have pride in my uniform and my job, other people will see that and feel it too."
Reacting with the precision of a drill instructor and dressed in a uniform of distinction, Andrews' newly-established Elite Gate Guard is sure to have the first impression of Andrews and the Air Force be a positive one.