Acting Presidential

Last month, more than 85 airmen from 30 different Air Force bases came together to form the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing in Washington, D.C., to provide ceremonial support to the inauguration of the next President on Jan. 20, 2009. Maj. Gen. Ralph Jodice II, commander of the Air Force District of Washington, leads the unit, which, by the time of the inauguration, will have about 200 airmen on the ground supporting the festive events as part of the joint-service Armed Forces Inaugural Committee. The AFIC was established in the 1950s to coordinate all military ceremonial participation in presidential inaugurations, including musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries, and honor cordons. “The armed forces participation in the presidential inauguration is a centuries-old tradition,” said Jodice. “We use it to celebrate our democracy, honor our new commander-in-chief, and recognize civilian control of the military.” Additional airmen supporting the inauguration will be Air Force Honor Guard and Air Force Band members, military assistants, drivers, and contingency support members. (AFIC report by Lt. Col. Jay Delancy)