Armed Forces Inaugural Committee
Prepares to Welcome New President
(November 6, 2008)
|WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2008 – Members of the Armed Forces
Inaugural Committee are preparing to welcome President-elect Barack Obama when
the nation's 44th chief executive takes the oath of office Jan. 20. |
AFIC is a joint-service organization that coordinates all military ceremonial
support for presidential inaugurals, according to the committee's Web site. The
committee falls under Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region,
commanded by Army Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., who wears a dual hat as the
committee's chairman. The committee, he said, will grow to about 700 members
prior to Inauguration Day.
Inauguration Day will mark the 56th time the U.S. military has welcomed the
incoming commander in chief with fanfare, music and parades, Rowe said, a
tradition that goes back to the first U.S. chief executive, George Washington.
“We're very excited about it,” Rowe said.
AFIC works with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies and
the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said Marine Corps Col. Tim Cole, AFIC's
chief of staff. The JCCIC is made up of key congressional leaders and is
responsible for the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol and the congressional
luncheon. The PIC is a nonprofit organization representing the president-elect
that's responsible for organizing and funding many inaugural events.
Supporting the inaugural “is quite an honor,” Cole said, citing the historical
importance of yesterday's election, which selected America's first
African-American president as the nation remains at war with global terrorism.
Cole saluted America's servicemen and women, including the half-million troops
stationed overseas – many of whom are serving in harm's way in Afghanistan and
Iraq -- as well as military retirees and veterans.
“We in uniform today represent them at this nation's inauguration,” Cole said.
AFIC's military composition “is purple all the way,” said Navy Capt. Benjamin
Yates, the committee's director of personnel. The color purple, he explained,
signifies the blending of the different-hued uniforms worn by members of the
Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard who serve on the AFIC. Yates
is a retired Navy officer who was recalled to active duty to serve on the
“It's a major operation,” Yates said of AFIC's mission. “No matter what
inauguration you're going through, it's a piece of history.” Following the
inaugural, he said, the committee should finish closing up shop sometime in
Today, the day after Election Day, about 70 servicemembers reporting to the AFIC
were involved in various in-processing actions at the committee's offices in
AFIC members Army Capt. Sam Kieffer, Coast Guard Lt. Kishia Mills and Air Force
Staff Sgt. Olayinka Olatunji issued building and other credentials to the new
“It's great to be in a joint environment and working with the other services,”
said Mills, 27, who hails from New York City.
Working on the AFIC is an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Lancaster, Pa.,
native Kieffer, citing the significance of U.S. presidential inaugurations. “It
is history in the making, and obviously this one is special,” Kieffer said of
Obama's upcoming inauguration.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Serafico, a 34-year-old administration
specialist from Reno, Nev., said he is inspired to be part of the AFIC.
“It's truly an honor and a privilege to be here to be taking part in this very
historical event. ... To just be part of history is truly amazing and something
I'll truly remember,” Serafico said.
Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Daniels, 42, heard about the
opportunity to join AFIC months ago during a duty tour in Bahrain. “I applied
for the program, ... and fortunately I got selected,” said Daniels, who hails from
Warren, Ark. “I am glad to be here.”
Daniels, who will serve with the committee as a duty driver, said she recognizes
that Obama's journey to the White House is a notable event in U.S. history.
“I support any president,” she said. “It's all about the support of our
government and sticking together as a team and forming unity for our nation.”
By Gerry J.
American Forces Press Service
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