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Macy's Aims High

Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, accepts the Macy’s Day Parade drum head with Band and Honor Guard leadership at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, accepts the Macy’s Day Parade drum head from Wesley Whatley, director of the band program for the Macy's Day Parade, with Band and Honor Guard leadership at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard performs for an audience at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard performs for an audience at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

The U.S. Air Force Band performs for an audience at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

The U.S. Air Force Band performs for an audience at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Audience members stand while the U.S. Air Force Band performs the National Anthem at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Audience members stand while the U.S. Air Force Band performs the National Anthem at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, accepts the Macy’s Day Parade drum head with Band and Honor Guard leadership at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, accepts the Macy’s Day Parade drum head with Band and Honor Guard leadership at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2016. During the performance, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee announced the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard will represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Arlington, Va. -- Sunset, Air Force memorial, and the U.S. Air Force Band! The gathering crowd prepared for a memorable evening, the band prepared for a special announcement.

After the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard presented the colors, Air Force leaders and Wesley Whatley, director of the band program for the Macy's Day Parade, approached the microphone.

"We're here tonight to make a very special announcement, would you like to hear it?" said Whatley as the crowd cheered. "It gives me great pride and great pleasure as we announce tonight that for the third time in this band's history, the Macy's Band Selection Committee has selected the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard to represent the Air Force and perform in New York City in the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."

After an eruption of applause, Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, accepted the Macy's Day Parade drum head with Band and Honor Guard leadership to make the invitation official.

"What an honor it is for me to be able to represent the United States Air Force Honor Guard and the United States Air Force Band and the 680,000 Airmen currently serving the United States Air Force today," said Grosso.

"I was proud to be there to represent our outstanding Air Force District of Washington Airmen." said AFDW Vice Commander Col. Chris Patterson. "We're very thankful for this opportunity and thrilled they will represent the Air Force and AFDW in the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."  The Air Force Band and Air Force Honor Guard both fall under the Air Force District of Washington and report to the 11th Wing's 11th Operations Group.

"If you can imagine the world's best musicians performing a complicated but familiar patriotic tune, you have a good idea of what's in store for the viewers on Thanksgiving morning," said Col. Jon Julian, 11th Operations Group commander. "I can promise that it will be inspiring, and will make our Airmen and their families proud of their Air Force." 

The 11th Operations Group will begin preparations for the monumental event. They will are also planning a media day at Joint Base Andrews which will be the dress rehearsal and give a preview of the planned performance.

"To be able to show precision and professionalism on a national and international scale, before millions of viewers on an iconic American TV tradition that is the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, on our service's 70th Anniversary, is truly an honor for the men and women of the 11th Operations Group," said Julian.  "We are very fortunate to have this opportunity and are truly thankful to the Macy's organization for inviting us back next year."

The Honor Guard plans to have an 81-person formation with a colors team element leading the way in the parade.  The Band will consist of 99 members within the unit to include a woodwinds, brass and percussion ensemble.