The Colors Presentation That Never Happened

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It happened, but it didn’t.

Mrs. DrillMaster and I were stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base from 2009-2011. Her last base before retiring while I was already retired for three years. I joined the Base Honor Guard as an AP3 member and became the trainer for a while. During my tenure there, we fielded one of many color guards, this one for a change of command ceremony in a hangar on the flightline.

The Story

The team formed up as we usually did at the side of the bleachers in Line Formation about ten minutes prior to the start. They went to Stand At Ease and waited. The announcer stated the usual, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors and the singing of the national anthem by Miss (whoever she was).” The team came to Attention, Right Shoulder, and just as they stepped of, the woman began singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Our colors team stopped in it’s tracks and went to Present while still in Line Formation. They went back to Right Shoulder and just as they began marching forward to formally present the colors, the announcer went on with the program. The commander of the team told the lead guard to circle back around.

The team went down to Angle Port, went through a doorway to their prep area, put the equipment up, changed back into the travel uniform, went to transportation, loaded up, and headed back to the Shack having never actually being given the opportunity to do their job in front of the audience. They did do their job, just not as expected.

The Protocol Office received a request for a discussion. No one was at fault, per se, it was just nerves and lack of communication all round.

Don’t let this happen to you and your team. Show up early and rehearse (my team did, but this still happened) and make sure all key players are there for the rehearsal.

Maybe one day…

I’ll tell you about the other colors presentation that didn’t happen on the command of “Post the Colors!” that was repeated a second time when an NCO forgot to get the color guard equipment at the Shack and meet the rest of the team at the hangar on the flightline for the Wing change of command. Yes, the Wing (Battalion equivalent).

Or maybe the one about how the organizational flag slid down the staff while the team was at Right Shoulder and advancing to present the colors. I was horrified as I watched from the behind the audience. The next day, I went to the Shack with my drill and several small screws and secured all the flags, top and bottom with both new Velcro tabs and the screws. It never happened again. You can read how I did that here.

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