Honor Guard: ‘The faces’ of AFJROTC


Lexi Noguera

Honor guard is a special division of the AFJROTC Academy. Here, they are preparing to present the U.S. flag at Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez’s procession in Sept. 2021.

There is no doubt you have seen the honor guard on campus. Whether it’s at football games, at Hunter Lopez’s procession, the Homecoming parade, or school rallies, they are there. 

What is the process? Who are these people? 

Honor guard is a special division of the AFJROTC Academy. Cadets are selected based on their commander’s recommendations. 

Honor guard Commander Amanda Kaye ‘23 shared, “We do all sorts of community events, we present at the pep rallies and football games, stuff like that. Off campus, we do local softball games, lots of presentations at funeral homes.”

Kaye likes to say that the honor guard is seen as “the face” of AFJROTC. 

“Being in honor guard, you have to be a certain type of cadet because we are seen mostly as the ‘Face of AFJROTC’. You see us and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s AFJROTC’, so we have to represent it well,” said Kaye.

This is especially true at school events, where people can observe the honor guard presenting the American and California flags.  

 “Amanda tells us this a lot, we are kind of the face of AFJROTC. So we always have to look our best and make sure we’re doing the right thing, and to not screw up or do something dumb,” said Amilia Esparza ‘25, an honor guard cadet. 

Kaye joined based on her flight commander’s recommendation but stayed because honor guard became a second family to her. Other honor guard cadets share similar stories where the relationships they have made with their fellow cadets are one of the main reasons they enjoy being part of honor guard. 

“My favorite thing is probably the people,” said Esparza. 

As Kaye said, honor guard is like a second family. It seems that all the honor guard cadets have strong bonds with their fellow cadets. 

While most honor guard cadets join honor guard based on recommendation, they stay because they love it.

“I think my favorite thing is that I can do cool tricks, basically,” said Grace Perla ‘25, while spinning the rifle. 

By joining honor guard, students learn many things; Responsibility, determination, and teamwork are all qualities developed. They also learn to be disciplined and hardworking. 

“Those are the main characteristics, since you have to give a lot of time to learning a lot of the movements, learning a lot of the culture and how things are done. It’s a whole new ball park,” said Brendon Samayon ‘23.

“I’ll whip you into shape, I’ll whip these cadets into shape. They’re still new, but I will whip them into shape,” Kaye said while pointing at new honor guard cadets. 

Honor guard is a division of AFJROTC that takes hard work and practice. Along with that, students develop special bonds and relationships with fellow cadets. 

Kaye shared, “There’s this fun little ‘initiation’ that all honor guard cadets get. The first week or so, you get a bruise on your shoulder because the rifles are heavy, so I think that’s like a fun little quirky thing. It’s not only the little memories but also the bonding I get to have with my cadets. It means a lot to me.”