From Holloman elite to Air Force elite

Staff Sgt. Jason Estrada, 49th Medical Support Squadron and Holloman Guardsman, looks to the right at another Guardsman during a graduation sequence.

Staff Sgt. Jason Estrada, 49th Medical Support Squadron and Holloman Guardsman, looks to the right at another Guardsman during a graduation sequence.

HOLLOMAN AFB, NM -- One of Holloman's finest was recently selected to become one of the Air Force's finest. 

Staff Sgt. Jason Estrada, 49th Medical Support Squadron and Holloman Honor Guardsman, was recruited to the Air Force Honor Guard at Bolling AFB, Washington D.C., when some of their members were here for a formal training session in April. 

"I have been on the Holloman Honor Guard team two times," said Sergeant Estrada. "The first time was from March, 2000, to May, 2004, and then I joined again in March of this year." 

Sergeant Estrada joined the Honor Guard team because he wanted to be a part of the tradition the Honor Guard has. 

"It is a great honor to represent our country and servicemembers, past and present, of the United States Air Force," he said. "That feeling drives and motivates me everyday."
"I was asked by a very close friend of mine, who was also a member of the Holloman Honor Guard at the time, to participate in his grandfather's funeral," he said of his most memorable experience. "My friend was TDY in the Middle East at the time and he said he wanted me to represent us in his absence. Our families are very close, a lot of them grew up together in Las Cruces, so in many ways, his grandfather was an extended part of my own family. At the funeral, I had to present the Colors to my friend's grandmother. It was the toughest thing I've had to do as a Guardsman, but I am so proud to have been asked to render such an honor. I wouldn't have had it any other way." 

There are many differences between the Holloman Honor Guard and Air Force Honor Guard, such as location and types and sizes of ceremonies, said Sergeant Estrada. But the main difference is the Holloman team is not just responsible for performing at military functions, they also have their regular jobs to do. They give up weekends, holidays and family time in order to represent Holloman. 

"The Air Force Honor Guard members represent the Air Force every minute, of every day by performing at funerals, formal dinners and presidential events," Sergeant Estrada said. 

To be selected for the Honor Guard at Bolling, Sergeant Estrada had to meet the physical criteria of the job. 

All males in the Air Force Honor Guard must be at least 5 feet 10 inches tall and have no physical limitations. 

"Knowing I have been selected is a great honor," said Sergeant Estrada. "This means a great deal to me. It is an elite organization I am very proud of. I am proud for myself, my parents and for everyone else who has influenced my career thus far." 

"Sergeant Estrada is one of the top performers on the team whether performing military funerals or ceremonies on base or around the communities," said Master Sgt. Marty Haynes, Holloman Honor Guard. "It was his hard work and commitment to our nation's veterans and their families that has helped get him selected for this highly visible position." 

Sergeant Estrada will leave Holloman in February and will start the eight-week course all Air Force Honor Guardsmen must go through in March.