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Senator Ted Stevens Viewing
Airman 1st Class Royce Williams, (front right), part of a joint honor guard, escorts the remains of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to the public viewing at All Saints Episcopal Church, Anchorage Alaska, Aug. 17, 2010. The body was later moved to the Anchorage Baptist Temple for a memorial service Aug. 18. Airman Williams said it was an honor to have taken part in such a historic event in our nation's history. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia)
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JBER Airman honored to play part in former senator's memorial

Posted 8/20/2010   Updated 8/20/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross
JBER PAO


8/20/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --  As a young man growing up in Chicago, Airman 1st Class Royce Williams never thought he would be a part of a historic event in this nation's history.

That all changed a few days ago when Airman Williams was chosen to be one of the pallbearers of a joint military honor guard that transported the remains of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who was killed in a plane crash Aug. 9, north of Dillingham, Alaska.

"It (was) a great honor to know that I was one of the pallbearers for a great man in American history and Alaska history," Airman Williams said about the senator who served longer than any other Republican; from 1968 to 2008.

Airman Williams said it was a huge deal to take part in the event in front of Vice President Joe Biden. He mentioned he had watched these ceremonies before on TV and was impressed with the professionalism and class of the men and women doing the job, but he never thought he would have the opportunity to be one of them.

Chief Master Sgt. Angela Valentine was the one who appointed Airman Williams for the job. As the superintendent for the 673d Force Support Squadron, which the base honor guard falls under, chief said she knew Airman Williams was one of the members she wanted for the job.

"He's one of my best honor guard members," she said. "He's real attentive and passionate about what we do and it shows. He understands we leave a lasting impression and what we do is important."

Chief Valentine also said she felt this was a great experience for him, "it's not every day you get selected to be a part of something that's so big."

Airman Williams said being a part of honor guard has had a great impact on his life, and the hardest part is handing our nation's flag off to the next of kin and thanking them for their loved one's service.

"Its made me appreciate how valuable life is," he said.

When Airman Williams isn't putting time into honor guard he is assigned to the 673d Communications Squadron, which is responsible for a majority of the sound system setups on the installation.

Airman Williams arrived at JBER in July and joined the honor guard that October and plans on continuing his participation to where he goes next.



tabComments
8/30/2010 12:42:10 AM ET
Words cannot express how proud I am to know that Airman Williams has grown up to be an awesome leader in our military. Airman Williams grew up with my sons and what an honor This is only the beginning of his career and only God knows whats in store for him. Keep up the good work. His mom is like a sister to me and know she is extremely proud. What an example for our young men of today Wow
A. Maria Thomas, Rio Rancho NM
 
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