Get the drill: The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performed in AustinPublished 10:24am Wednesday, June 25, 2014
More than 100 people gathered in downtown Austin Tuesday to watch a squad of 12 U.S. Air Force servicemen show their talent for precision through daring, complex and somewhat dangerous rifle drills.
The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team stopped in Austin on the way to Rochester to demonstrate its rifle-handling skills, in essence to show the amount of dedication it takes to serve in the military.
“They bring that same level of precision to their daily duties,” Master Sgt. Scott Slindee said of the drill team. “This is very much representative of the Air Force as a whole.”
Slindee has been part of the drill team for seven months, but Tuesday’s performance in Austin was special for a different reason. Slindee has relatives in the area and used to spend summers in Austin from elementary school to when he signed up for the Air Force.
“It’s great,” he said of Austin. “I come there a couple times a year, typically for Thanksgiving and for a fishing trip.”
Slindee is a 20-year veteran in the Air Force and was honored to get the opportunity to serve on the drill team. As the only full-time ceremonial unit in the Air Force, the drill team tours the country to promote the Air Force and its mission. Slindee and the team also lead funerals at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Slindee considers his service on the drill team an honor.
“It’s a really exciting job,” he said. “I’m lucky enough to travel the country and tell the Air Force story to the public.”
The public appeared pleased with Tuesday’s performance as several people, like 11-year-old Joslyn Cotton, sought autographs after the performance.
“I thought it was awesome,” she said, noting she and her family traveled from Charles City, Iowa, for the performance.
Drill team members, many of whom were coated with sweat after their intricate routines, were more than happy to provide autographs and interact with the public.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Sellstrom said the team often spends eight hours a day training and often practice during free time.
“We put a lot of hard work and time into this job,” he said.
Slindee, Sellstrom and the rest of the drill team will tour the country throughout the summer and into September. The drill team performed in Rochester on Tuesday night in conjunction with Max Impact, the Air Force’s premier rock band.
—Jason Schoonover contributed to this report.