GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Over 66,000 crowd members watched the Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard as they marched onto the field at the U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Honor Guard presented the colors during the singing of the national anthem at the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys football game in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Oct. 31, 2021.
Their purpose for presenting the colors was twofold; represent the excellence and professionalism of the U.S. Air Force and pay respect to all past and present service members.
The team conducts ceremonial ‘details’ which consist of colors and Firing Party personnel. For every single detail, the Airmen must ensure their uniform and drill movements are pristine to exhibit the utmost professionalism and military discipline.
“There’s a lot that comes with the name ‘honor guard,’” said Tech. Sgt. Ephraim Advincula, Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard program manager. “Such as honoring those that come before us, bringing awareness to our members, and reminding them why we wear the uniform.”
The Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard, along with other base honor guards, are an extension of the Air Force Honor Guard. Although separate, they receive direction from the Air Force Honor Guard and provide similar military ceremonial support across the nation.
The Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard covers over 147,000 square miles spanning across four states including portions of North Dakota, Wisconsin, upper Michigan, and the entirety of Minnesota.
With the third largest area of responsibility of any base honor guard, the team works diligently to pay respect at funerals, parades, and a variety of public events. With only ten ceremonial guardsmen, they pay respect at over 600 funerals annually.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard has been completing up to twice as many funerals as last year - sometimes 60 over the span of one month.
“Even with the increased amount of funeral requests we receive, we want to ensure that every Veteran and retiree is paid the respect they deserve,” said Advincula. “However, we do so much more than funerals. When we conduct details such as the Minnesota Vikings Game, we are able to give back to the community while sparking interest in, and representing, the Air Force.”
The Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard team is comprised of Airmen from diverse backgrounds, units and career fields that come together to form a specialized team that acts as the public face of the Air Force.
“As long as I’m here I want to be standing for the truth and the truth is that the honor and legacy must carry on,” said Advincula. “The legacy of the honor guard is very important and near and dear to my heart. We are here not for the glory or accolades, but to honor with dignity.”