Fairfax County Sheriff's Office Fields All-Female Team for May 5 Honor Guard Competition
Update: May 5, 2012
First place! Again. The Fairfax County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard took home the top prize for the third consecutive year in the 21st annual competition sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
May 2, 2012
Stand by. Honor Guard…attention! Port…arms! Forward…march!
So it will begin for the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard as five team members cross the grounds of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. The event is a competition and wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments during National Correctional Employees Week.
The Fairfax County Sheriff's Office took first place and the best dressed award in the same competition, in both 2010 and 2011. How will the team try to top that for 2012? Women. For the first time in the Sheriff's Office history, all members of the competing team are female. In fact, never in the 21-year history of this competition has any agency fielded an all-female team.
"We did not set out to have a certain number of men or women for this competition," said Lieutenant William Friedman, commander of the honor guard. "But when it looked like the team was shaping up to be mostly female, we decided as a group to go all the way in that direction."
The honor guard currently has 36 members, eight of whom are female. Joining the team is voluntary, but the process is very competitive. The team is known for its strict composure, precise military bearing and meticulous attention to detail. Members formally train for two hours every month and drill before every event.
"We’ve had so much fun at practices," said Private First Class Amy Lewis, a nine-year veteran of the honor guard. "Marching has been easier, too. Since we’re all the same height, our strides match step for step. Win or lose, we’ve had a great journey to get to this competition."
The memorial is located on E Street, between 4th and 5th Streets, NW. Visitors riding Metro should go to the Judiciary Square Station, F Street exit; the memorial is directly above.
Honor Guard…halt! Order…arms! Fall out!