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Vandenberg Honor Guard recognizes two new 'Centurions'

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Two Vandenberg Honor Guard members were recognized with the Centurion Award at a ceremony here Aug. 25. 

Staff Sgt. Kevin Flores and Senior Airman Vicente Valdovinos earned the award by completing 100 honor guard details. 

Winning the Centurion Award is difficult, said retired Chief Master Sgt. Norm Marous, who is a Vandenberg Chiefs Group Executive Council member. A normal rotation on the honor guard team is one year, so to reach the 100 detail level would require performance of an average of two details per week, every week. Most of those who have become Centurions have remained on the team for three or more years before reaching that level. 

"The fact is that to the best of our ability to determine, of the hundreds of Airmen who have served on this honor guard team over the years, there are now only 23 individuals in the history of Vandenberg who have ever qualified as Centurions," said Chief Marous, who was also an honor guard member. "This is only the fifth Centurion induction ceremony we have conducted." 

Beating the average time for Centurion winners, Airman Valdovinos joined the Centurion ranks in less than three years. He joined the honor guard in November 2006, eight months after arriving at Vandenberg. Being new to the military, he said the honor guard seemed like a fun thing to do. 

"But after I joined, I found that it was a lot more rewarding than I thought it would be," said Airman Valdovinos, who is a 381st Training Support Squadron member. "Just being a part of the team that gives back to the families of those who've fallen, those who've passed, is something special." 

Agreeing with his fellow honor guard member, Sergeant Flores said pride and commitment are core attributes required Centurion award winners. 

"If you're going to do something, do it right," said the 576th Flight Test Squadron NCO. "Put your all into it." 

The Centurion Award was created in 2006 by Master Sgt. Glen McAlister, who was then the Vandenberg Honor Guard program manager. The Vandenberg Chiefs Group sponsors the award with a plaque on permanent display in the Honor Guard Training Facility and another plaque made for each new winner.