Air Force honor guard honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice

On 17-year-old Pilot in the First Class Gage Garfin was a Ceremonial Guardsman in the United States Air Force honor guard. The Louisiana native said that he felt called to serve, so he joined the Firing y, with the hope of honoring those who make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Firing y element usually consists of seven archers, and the non-commissioned officer in Charge with the Firing y that calls commands during a fallen Airman’s funeral.

The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, according to the Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling, where the fighting ceased so the dead and wounded can be removed. Then three shots were fired in the air to indicate that the battle would resume.

The Ceremonial Archers of the run of nearly 750 services a year with three to five ceremonies are held every day in Arlington National Cemetery.

“I heard a little girl crying and she was the question of whether that was her Daddy,” Garfin said, describing a recent ceremony. “I’m not going to say that it broke something in me, but it did really hurt because this was someone from his father.”

He says that it is a part of the mission. “There is no greater honour than sacrificing your life for our country and that people deserve to be honored for itself, and I had the feeling that this was the best way to do it”.

Family members, in the presence of sometimes to send letters to the honor guard to thank them for their service.

Mary Guptill sent a letter in April of this year, stating her gratitude. “You gave us a priceless gift of memories of perfectly executed ceremony. I wish that I could have spoken with each of you personally and thank you for participating.”


Garfin says joining the military is an honor, but it very well could have helped to save his own life.

“I had a tough upbringing early on and in combination with my behaviour, I bounced from school to school,” he explained. “I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I realized that if I want something non-productive I would either end up in prison or the death. I had to change that and that was in the air force.”


Garfin says that he wants to continue to improve in his position as a kind of Sentinel. “It’s just one of those things that you need to do is your best and perform at the highest standards to show that you respect and want to honor that individual cases”.

Eventually, he hopes to learn all the other functions in the device.

Terrace Garnier is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Follow her on twitter: @TeraceGarnier

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