“It was a great honor to be recognized by Governor Otter,” said Smith. “Without the mentorship and support of my Idaho community, I wouldn’t be where I am today – a member of an elite ceremonial unit, showing my support for my country every day.”
Smith, a Nampa, Idaho native, was a past graduate of the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy. The academy is a 17 1/2-month volunteer program for 16-to-18 year old high school students at risk of dropping out. Through the academy, Smith got his high school diploma and eventually joined the Air Force. The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, headquartered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, was Smith’s first military assignment upon completion of basic military training.
“Friends who had been through the Academy told Daniel about the positive changes it had brought to their lives – changes emphasizing respect, excellence, persistence, integrity and leadership,” said Otter. “Now Daniel joins them in considering it one of the best decisions he’s ever made.”
In the address, Otter also cited Smith’s role in the inauguration ceremony for President Trump as well as the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
As one of the Air Force's oldest organizations, the Honor Guard is as the face of the Air Force to the American and global public. Airmen are competitively selected from their peers in more than 200 different career fields to serve in the unit, making the Honor Guard the standard for discipline and military professionalism. The Honor Guard’s three ceremonial flights – Colors, Bearers and Firing Party – as well as the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team combined perform an average of 10 ceremonies per day, and more than 2,500 ceremonies annually.