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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | July 8, 2016

USAF Honor Guard concludes Nova Scotia performances

By Senior Airman Ryan J. Sonnier 11th Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performed during the 2016 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 30 - July 7.

Along with the U.S. performers, other countries that participated were Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Kenya.

"[The performers] knocked it out of the park," Lt. Col. Peter Tritsch, USAF Honor Guard commander, said about the July 4 performance. "It was amazing to watch the different acts blend together and fill the arena with a professional manner. It was done very well!"

This was the first time in 20 years an active duty U.S. Military team has performed at the event.

"I got the opportunity to be at the show on July 4 and to accept the salute - something I would have never expected to be able to do," Tritsch said. "It was a surreal moment to see several performers take a moment to recognize the Air Force and our country on our Independence Day."

The drill team's mission is to showcase performances to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen and is one of five flights in the USAF Honor Guard which falls under the Air Force District of Washington.

"Every day we represent, not only our leadership at the 11th Wing, but we also represent Maj. Gen. Darryl Burke and the AFDW," he continued. "We are the ambassadors in blue when we travel, representing all of our Air Force, past and present. It's one of the thing we are most proud about."

The event left a lasting impression on several members of the team, especially Airman 1st Class Jeremy De Leon, USAF Honor Guard Drill Team member.

"This is my first international event since joining the team in December 2015," De Leon said. "It was a big role; full of excitement and pressure."

He also said that he is mostly nervous before their performance begins; he knows everyone's eyes are on him when it's his time to perform.

"When the lights are off, I can really see the crowd. We performed on Canada Day and it was just a wave of red," De Leon said. "In that moment, I got goose bumps; as soon as the lights come on, everyone disappears. My mentality is, 'just go out there and do my best.'"

However, he was not the only person to be impacted by the performance. Heather Kitchen, tattoo interim managing director, said that she was very proud to be part of this event and watch the USAF Honor Guard Drill Team perform.

"It's thrilling to see two countries I care deeply about, Canada and the U.S., coming together. I can't think of anything better than this show," Kitchen said. "It is very meaningful that they came from the U.S. to honor us with their presence."

The sequence performed was different than a typical routine; it did not include narration.

"The team adjusted the performance to fit the show. It was impressive," Tritsch said. "It was cool to hear the Air Force song as they marched off the floor; it was amazing to hear the crowd cheering."

However, Tritsch wasn't the only one moved with the crowd's cheers and praise.

"When I hear them cheering, it makes me want to perform 10 times harder," De Leon said with a smile. "I know we have the support from the crowd and that we entertained them."

Aside from the drill team performance, the team participated in the opening and closing ceremonies as well, alongside the other countries.

"My favorite part of this experience wasn't our individual performance, it's at the end during the closing ceremony," De Leon said. "Sharing this moment with the other performers, hearing the final applause from the crowd, was a great feeling."