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NEWS | March 2, 2021

59th MDW medic shines as ceremonial guardsman

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Stanford 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Honor Guard has been an elite unit of ceremonial guardsmen for more than 70 years. The traditional, yet competitive, nature of the honor guard forces Airmen to reach for the highest standards of discipline, military bearing, as well as dress and appearance.

Joint Base San Antonio’s Honor Guard covers a 65,000-square-mile region across 69 counties in Texas. In order to cover this vast area, JBSA Honor Guard has over 40 members including trainers, operations and leadership.

The opportunity to join this elite force is one that had eluded Senior Airman Jean Garcia Hiciano, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center Family Health Clinic aerospace medical technician, until September 2020.

“Ever since basic training, I’ve been in love with marching,” Garcia Hiciano stated. “I was a black rope in technical school and I was marching flights. I did research to find out what the honor guard does and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I joined the Air Force.”

After notification of his selection for JBSA honor guard, Garcia Hiciano made a promise to his leadership he would be the best guardsman they had seen, and it's a promise he has lived up to.

During his time as a ceremonial guardsman, Garcia Hiciano completed 74 funeral honors, including three active duty funerals, traveling more than 8,000 miles in just six months.

“What meant the most to me was what we were giving to the families of the fallen service members,” Garcia Hiciano stated. “It gives you a sense of pride, too. When your time is up, you hope someone will do what we do.”

In recognition of his efforts, Garcia Hiciano was awarded Guardsman of the Month, Airman of the Quarter, and the Praetorian Award for the 502nd Air Base Wing.

The Praetorian Award is the most prestigious award to be earned as a ceremonial guardsman and is given to the guardsman who embodies the Air Force core values.

“Honestly, it was a surprise to be award the Praetorian because everything we do is based on team effort,” Garcia Hiciano said. “I guess I was always the one to take charge of the details. I was always focused on making sure there were no mistakes and they noticed that.”

With Honor Guard being a six-month duty, there are many opportunities for Airmen to step outside of their current career field to volunteer.

“If you get the chance to volunteer, do it,” Garcia Hiciano said. “But once you are there, give it 100 percent. This is not a job you can do halfway.”

Garcia Hiciano returned to the Family Health Clinic in January 2021.