Since 1948 when the US Air Force Honor Guard was established, the Guard has acted as the representative of the US Air Force around the world. The Honor Guard consists of men and women of all enlisted ranks who have volunteered and then been chosen to serve in the Guard. The Honor Guard consists of several groups including the Color Guard.
The Color Guard refers to an elite detachment that is assigned to protecting the colors, the United States Flag and the United States Air Force Flag. Color Guards today are used for formal events but historically a regiment's necessity to keep formation was critical and flags and banners were used so that during the battle the regiment could stay together. In battle, capturing an enemy's flag was considered a great feat, and thus the color guard was born. The flagstaff of the Air Force is decorated with battle streamers that symbolize every conflict and campaign that the Air Force has participated in since its inception in 1907 as the U.S. Army Aeronautical Division.
Another subgroup of the Honor Guard is the United States Air Force drill team. The drill team performs a series of high precision spins and tosses with Garand M-1 rifles, fitted with bayonets. The sound of the slaps against the rifle stock catches all spectators' attention and the precision and showmanship brings a sense of pride and honor to everyone in the crowd.