Arrival ceremony first to be held at AF memorial

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Madelyn Waychoff
  • USAF Honor Guard Public Affairs
Under the spires of the newly dedicated Air Force Memorial another historic ceremony was held there Tuesday - the first foreign dignitary arrival ceremony.

The arrival ceremony, hosted by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, welcomed nine Pacific air chiefs from Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand and the Philippines. Their arrival in Washington signaled the start of their tour of the United States.

The ceremony also marked the first time an arrival ceremony included a wreath-laying ceremony, usually held at The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Arrival ceremonies are usually held on the ceremonial lawn at Bolling Air Force Base.

"That we performed our first arrival ceremony at the memorial in front of air chiefs from halfway around the world is rather symbolic about the vast and far reaching impact of the Air Force over the years, and certainly fitting," said Lt. Col. Gaylord Thomas, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard commander. "This was a historic occasion, and the performance by our Airmen certainly set the bar for all future ceremonies."

In the newly combined ceremonies Lt. Gen. Soeung Samnang, Cambodian Royal Air Force commander, represented the Pacific air chiefs when he assisted General Moseley in the inspection of the troops and in placing the wreath under the memorial.

The honor guard presented the troops for inspection and formed the arrival cordon for the guests. The U.S. Air Force Band also provided troops for inspection and music for the ceremony.