By Staff Sgt. Matt Benedetti, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
TRANSIT CENTER at MANAS, Kyrgyzstan — Every step is made with careful deliberation. Eyes are fixed forward. Movements executed in precise increments. As the crowd watches, the members of both the Transit Center at Manas and the Kyrgyz Republic honor guard carry their country’s flag and perform as one seamlessly integrated unit.
During the recent 376th Air Expeditionary Wing change of command ceremony at the Transit Center, honor guards from both militaries were able to collaborate and perform in front of an audience of distinguished visitors that included U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen and Lt. Gen David Goldfein, U.S. Air Forces Central commander.
The partnership between the two honor guards is emblematic of the strong relationship between the two nations. Both units were pleased to work with one another.
Staff Sgt. Darrell Coleman, a Chicago native, is the Transit Center honor guard NCO in charge. He enjoyed working with his Kyrgyz counterparts.
“It was a solid collaboration and it felt like we were one team,” he said.
Their performance was based on only three practices. “The language barrier was a challenge but we overcame it. We took great pride in working with them and there was a collective respect for the ceremony,” Coleman said.
Senior Airman Brendan McIntyre of Warwick, R.I. echoed those sentiments. “I was impressed with their skill level and how quickly they learned our movements,” said the honor guard member who is deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. McIntyre works as a customer service technician with the 376th Expeditionary Comptroller Squadron.
Pvt. Nooruzbek uulu Karybek, a Kyrgyz Republic National Guard soldier and member of the honor guard, felt that being involved in the event was worthwhile. “It was a new experience for me. I participated in such a ceremony for the first time,” he said.
“I liked working with American Airmen. We worked together as team members,” Karybek said.
“The honor guard is a membership and brotherhood all its own, we would be happy to work with our Kyrgyz partners anytime,” Coleman said, who is deployed from Peterson AFB, Colo.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brett Clashman)