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Air Force Drill Team demonstrates precision at Memorial Dedication

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2006) -- With the new Air Force Memorial looming nearby, hundreds of spectators, both civilian and military, gathered in a Pentagon parking lot here to witness the precision maneuvers of the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team.

The drill team's performance was but one of a series of events surrounding the dedication of the new Air Force Memorial Oct. 14. Their performance featured a professionally choreographed sequence of show-stopping weapon movements, precise tosses, complex weapon exchanges, and a walk-through-the-gauntlet of spinning weapons.

Wyman Bess, of Dallas, Texas, watched the event with his wife, Arlene. Mr. Bess is a retired Air Force technical sergeant. He retired in 1974. He and his wife have been together for 49 years now.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Bess said they enjoyed the performance.

"It was excellent," he said of their performance. "It is fabulous to see them perform. The Airmen on the drill team put a lot of hours into what they do."

He said the precision of the performance was the most appealing aspect of the drill.

Mr. Bess said the trip from Texas to Washington, D.C. was a long one, but it was worth it to see the memorial.

"I've been a supporter of this since memorial since its inception," he said. "I wanted to be here for the dedication and to see the memorial."

He said he is impressed with the new memorial, in particular, because the design doesn't focus on one particular form of air or space travel, but instead simply evokes a feeling of flight.

"I like the concept of the memorial because the Air Force is into space now," he said. "You can't lock that memorial into a specific style of aircraft."

The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team travels America and the world to inspire Air Force awareness among military and civilian audiences alike. The team personifies the teamwork, professionalism and discipline of every Airmen through precision drill maneuvers and representation. The team has existed for more than 40 years and has visited all 50 states in addition to many foreign countries.