JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The Air Force District of Washington hosted 12 media outlets for a media day at Hangar 3 on Joint Base Andrews to demonstrate the capabilities and support AFDW Airmen will provide to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
Personalities from a wide variety of media outlets joined Airmen and leaders from AFDW, the 113th Wing (Air National Guard), the 459th Air Refueling Wing (Air Force Reserve), the 79th Medical Wing, the 89th Airlift Wing (Air Mobility Command), and the 11th Wing to showcase the Total Force capabilities that Team Andrews provides to the National Capitol Region, the Air Force and the nation.
The event happened after AFDW Commander, Maj. Gen. Darryl W. Burke, invited a myriad of media outlets to come to JB Andrews to meet with AFDW Airmen and learn about AFDW’s mission to provide contingency response, ceremonial honors and operational support across the Nation’s capital and worldwide. Burke said AFDW’s participation in the 2017 Presidential Inauguration exemplifies all three components of the AFDW mission and showcases AFDW’s ability to bring the full weight of its ability to bear when and if it is necessary.
"It was terrific to host the members of the news media today to let them visit with our outstanding AFDW Airmen and showcase the myriad of duties and responsibilities AFDW leads and performs for the Air Force and the Military District of Washington in support of the Presidential Inauguration," Burke said. "Through their reporting, Airmen will be afforded a glimpse into the critical role AFDW plays in support of the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
"What we do to carry out a world-class Capstone event that encompasses all three aspects of our mission -- contingency response, ceremonial honors and operational support -- and demonstrates, on an international stage, the excellence of our AFDW Airmen and the capabilities AFDW brings to bear if and when we are called upon to do so."
Among the capabilities on display were: a response to conflict demonstration by the 11th Security Forces Group Airmen and Military Working Dogs; a response to an Improvised Explosive Device attack by 79th Medical Wing Airmen; a capabilities demonstration by 11th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen; a parade demonstration and performance by the Air Force Honor Guard and the Air Force Band; and a swearing-in ceremony for Citizen Airmen from the Air National Guard’s 113th Wing (who were sworn in as Metropolitan D.C. special police).
The media had full and unfettered access to dozens of AFDW and Team Andrews Airmen and the AFDW Director of Operations, Plans and Requirements, Col. Elizabeth Larson, said it was important to feature AFDW’s role in the upcoming Inauguration as well as its capability and capacity to conduct or support sustained Air Force, Joint and Inter-Agency operations in the National Capital Region.
"We at AFDW provide for the Nation and for our Air Force trained, equipped Airmen to integrate into NCR joint teams for any and all components of our mission -- contingency response, ceremonial honors or operational support across the Nation's capital and worldwide," said Larson. "The leadership and precision execution of and by our AFDW Airmen supporting this incredibly significant event is a showcase for AFDW and the critical role we play in homeland defense, defense support to civil authorities, emergency preparedness, National Special Security Events and ceremonial honors."
Members of the media went live multiple times to local and national morning TV shows during the event and coverage will continue today and through the weekend. According to 1st Lt. Katy Blessing, AFDW Public Affairs Director of Operations, the event was an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of AFDW and Air Force support to the joint effort behind a major national event like the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
“It was really great to be able to show all of the hard work that AFDW and Team Andrews has been putting in behind the scenes to prepare for inauguration,” said Blessing, who planned, coordinated and led the event.
For the AFDW Airmen from the Air Force Honor Guard and the Air Force Band, their parade demonstration and performance for the media day event was a dress rehearsal for their role on Inauguration Day, a day that does and will have great meaning as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.
“This took countless hours of hard work and dedication, so to be a part of this life-changing experience means a lot,” said Senior Airman Tierra Davis of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Davis has been in the Air Force for three years and her sister Senior Airman Anicia Davis is also a member of the honor guard, which she said adds additional meaning to the event. “I can’t even begin to explain how my family feels about this … for both of us to be a part of this inauguration means so much for them, they are so excited for us!”
Another member of the Honor Guard, Airman Luisangel Guerra-Ruiz, who also comes from an Air Force family, expressed what this opportunity means to him, his family and his teammates in the Air Force Honor Guard.
“My family is excited, they are very honored, it’s a true honor being here representing them and making my family proud,” said Guerra-Ruiz, who has been in the Air Force for approximately one year. “For us in the Honor Guard, being part of the inauguration is an incredible opportunity to be sharp, crisp and motionless -- our true qualities by which we as ceremonial guardsmen live by.
“We are prideful and honored to be part of this important day. Representing every Airman past and present in the United States Air Force is a true honor,” Guerra-Ruiz said. “It’s a humbling experience.”
Editor’s Note: For readers wanting to see the full coverage, the media outlets who covered the event were: WRC-TV (NBC 4, Washington D.C.), Air Force Times, Voice of America, Fox5 DC, Fox News (National) New Net News, WTOP (Federal News Radio), Andrews Gazette, the Baltimore Sun, WUSA-TV (CBS, Washington D.C.), WJLA-TV (ABC, Washington D.C.), and the Washington Post.