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NEWS | April 16, 2014

JBSA Honor Guard program manager wins AETC award back-to-back years

By Alex Salinas Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

For the second year in a row, Master Sgt. David Teets earned a spot on the Air Education and Training Command Outstanding Airmen of the Year list for managing a top honor guard program.

After winning Joint Base San Antonio Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year in 2012 and then for AETC in 2013, Teets' 2014 award is significant because it recognizes both of JBSA-Randolph's and JBSA-Lackland's honor guards, which merged as one unit last October.

It also marks the end of Teets' run as an honor guard program manager. He is now transitioning back into his original Air Force career field in transportation management.

"I don't consider this my award because it's about the great job our team has done, and for that I'm fortunate," Teets said.

Responsible for bringing in new recruits, managing a full event schedule and supervising more than 300 members in three years, Teets helped lead "the busiest honor guard in AETC."

The JBSA Honor Guard completes an average of more than 170 details per month, which primarily consist of military funerals, Master Sgt. Nidia Hodge, JBSA Honor Guard superintendent, said.

"On Fridays alone, the team usually performs 12 to 15 funerals," Teets said. "Our schedule is determined by families, so we make things happen, whether it's the weekend or a holiday."

Prior to the JBSA Honor Guard's formation, Teets first became an honor guard program manager at JBSA-Lackland in 2011, where he streamlined operations.

"There were multiple teams rotating duties between months for a total of 18 months, which would create scheduling conflicts in the honor guard and in their career fields," he said. "I found it more efficient to have 32 members at once for a 90-day commitment."

Teets' format was adopted by the JBSA Honor Guard two years later, and it's been successful in bringing the group of 32 men and women closer.

"People really get to bond with their coworkers in three months, especially with all the traveling," Teets said. "Despite all the hours and energy that's put in, there are no words to describe the feeling of handing a flag to a family who has lost someone."

While Teets was the honor guard program manager at JBSA-Lackland, his guard was responsible for 25 counties covering 25,000 square miles. After combining with JBSA-Randolph's counties and land coverage, the JBSA Honor Guard's area of responsibility is 69 counties and 65,000 square miles.

"Master Sergeant Teets embraced the consolidation and understood the impact it would have allowing the honor guard team to have added manpower to support more missions," Russell Hayes, 802nd Force Support Squadron operations officer, said.

Teets and other major command winners in his category are entered for an Air Force-wide award to be chosen by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force in May.