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Deployed 30th CES member leads Airmen in 9/11 honor guard detail

ALI BASE, Iraq - Master Sgt. Herman Ybarra demonstrates drill team techniques Aug. 28, 2011, to his 407th Air Expeditionary Group Honor Guard in preparation for their 9/11 ceremony at Ali Base, Iraq. Ybarra is deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

ALI BASE, Iraq - Master Sgt. Herman Ybarra demonstrates drill team techniques Aug. 28, 2011, to his 407th Air Expeditionary Group Honor Guard in preparation for their 9/11 ceremony at Ali Base, Iraq. Ybarra is deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A utilities craftsman from Vandenberg's 30th Civil Engineer Squadron is currently leading and preparing the 407th Air Expeditionary Group Honor Guard at Ali Base, Iraq, for a special ceremony commemorating the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

"Having this 9/11 ceremony is very important and I feel really appreciative to get the opportunity to participate in the ceremony," said Senior Airman Daniel Morrissette, a 407th AEG intelligence analyst, who is deployed from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and native of Flagstaff, Ariz. "Being on the honor guard, especially [while] deployed, really gives me a sense of pride."

To prepare for ceremonies like this one, the honor guard practices eight hours a week under the watchful eye of Master Sgt. Herman Ybarra, 407th AEG Honor Guard superintendent.

Although many team members had previous honor guard experience, only two had drill team experience.

Ybarra said drill movements are difficult to learn, but his team has performed extremely well.

"They've surpassed my expectations by leaps and bounds," said Ybarra, who is from Corpus Christi, Texas, and deployed from Vandenberg. "They're showing their peers what you can do with a little bit of teamwork."

Ybarra said the honor guard team has displayed a tremendous amount of dedication practicing many hours in their off-duty time. He feels they will bring a tremendous amount of respect and honor to the 9/11 ceremony and the victims lost that day.

The ceremony is the last of a series of events planned by the 407th AEG's Focus 5/6, a volunteer group of enlisted non-commissioned officers dedicated to mentorship and airmen development. Additionally, all 9/11 events at Ali will provide awareness for Tuesday's Children, a charity that provides aid and counseling to children and family members of 9/11 victims.

"We wanted to do an event to promote the [Air Force's] core values and at the same time honor those who lost their lives on 9/11," said Staff Sgt. Jack Tucker, a 407th AEG ground safety manager from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

"I couldn't imagine going through what these children are dealing with," said Sgt. Tucker, who is from Birmingham, Ala. "When you see the children on the [Tuesday's Children] web site it really hits home. I felt this event was a good way to show we will never forget."

The ceremony will include a wreath laying, posting of the colors and drill team routines. All events will be filmed and copies sent to Tuesday's Children, along with a folded U.S. flag.