Middletown, Pa. --
Excitement filled the air. Airmen awaiting the arrival of their commander in chief; in hopes to catch a glimpse of him.
Airmen of the 193rd Special Operations Wing, along with their friends and family members had the opportunity to watch Air Force One with President Donald J. Trump on board, land and taxi onto base, April 29, 2017.
Vice President Mike Pence also arrived at the 193rd SOW prior to the president's arrival.
Airmen not only were able to witness the arrivals, they had the opportunity to shake hands and take photos.
The president and vice president walked over to them with the Col. Mike Cason, 193rd SOW commander, whom had greeted them upon their arrival.
The 193rd SOW was an en route stop to the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex for Trump and Pence, where the president was holding his 100th day rally. Yet in spite of their timeline, they made time for Airmen.
“I was happy to see the president’s reaction when he saw our Airmen and families on the flightline; it was great seeing how much time both the president and vice president spent shaking hands and interacting with them,” said Cason.
Tech. Sgt. Jordan Parrish, 193rd SOW production recruiter and retainer said it was exciting to be there.
“I felt like a kid in a candy store,” Parrish said.
A lot is involved to make this possible, Cason said.
“There was a lot of behind the scenes efforts ensuring security, maintenance and flightline logistics was carried out in a short amount of time,” he said.
Having a key role in the efforts was Staff Sgt. Katelyn Zimmerman, instruments and flight controls systems specialist. Zimmerman’s name was submitted as one of the Airmen who volunteered to chalk the front wheels of Air Force One. She was chosen the day of the president’s arrival.
“It was one of the coolest and most substantial weekend duties I’ve ever worked,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman went on to say how extremely grateful she was for the opportunity and how she hopes that other 193rd SOW Airmen get this chance in the future.
“I was proud to walk the flightline and see 193rd members manning all the aircraft support equipment, guarding the perimeter and working with media,” Cason said.
Cason said the professionalism and expertise that the 193rd SOW brings every day was showcased at this event.
“For many, meeting the commander in chief is a once-in-a-lifetime event that they will remember forever," he said. "To have them do it to honor their service means a lot to all of us.”