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459th to represent AFRC in Presidential Inaugural Parade

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Katie Spencer
  • 459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The 459th Air Refueling Wing is scheduled to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade, Jan. 20.

Ninety Airmen will take to the streets of Washington D.C. and represent 69,000 reservists as they march in formation to honor the newest President of the United States.

 “It’s a privilege to be able to represent the entire Air Force Reserve Command,” said Lt. Col. Rebecca Fox, 459th ARW executive officer. “In the parade, there will be 360 Airmen from Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and the Air Force Academy, so the complete formation will represent the entire Air Force. We are a total force and it’s great to showcase our comradery on such a big platform such as the inauguration.”

In order to prepare for the inauguration, 459th members took part in drill and ceremony training conducted by the Air Force Honor Guard. Airmen also had to undergo a uniform inspection to ensure they were compliant with dress and appearance regulations.

“It’s important we retrain drill and ceremony to this group of reservists so they have the ability to project the bearing, precision, and confidence that makes the U.S. Air Force the premier air service that it is,” said Tech. Sgt. Matt James,  U.S. Air Force Honor Guard training flight superintendent. “There is very little room for failure when you are under the microscope of so many at an event like this.  It’s our new president's first impression of the service and it’s important that we strive to perfect all movements so we earn and maintain the confidence of our commander-in-chief and the American public.”

Service members involved in the Presidential Inauguration represent all branches of service and their support is comprised of musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons, which render appropriate ceremonial honors to the commander-in-chief.

This year, 40 organizations of 8,000 marchers, including military, veterans groups and law enforcement, as well as the Boy Scouts of America, will participate in the 58th Presidential Inauguration. While the 459th can only have 90 Airmen in the parade, there are other opportunities for those who volunteered to get involved.

“The great thing about being on Andrews is we have Air Force One right across the flightline,” said Fox. “So those who aren’t able to march in the parade will get to take part in the departure ceremony for the outgoing president. It gives me chills to think about how we are able to support these historic events.”

The U.S. Armed Forces has provided support for official presidential inaugural ceremonies dating back to April 30, 1789, when members of the Continental Army escorted George Washington to the first U.S. presidential swearing-in ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.