566th IS Airman attends Presidential farewell ceremony
By Capt. Benjamin Pierce , 566th Intelligence Squadron
/ Published February 23, 2009
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A non-commissioned officer from the 566th Intelligence Squadron attended the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to former President George W. Bush at Conmy Hall at Fort Meyer, VA., Jan. 6.
Receiving the invitation only days before the tribute, Tech. Sgt. Brian Webster was surprised and honored to be invited to such a rare and monumental occasion.
He said he didn't plan on going or even responding, because they just returned from vacation for the holidays and things were very hectic. His wife, Theresa, insisted that he go.
The event was attended by former President Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen and many other distinguished guests.
"Even now, I don't know why I was invited, but I did have a good time," Sergeant Webster said. "It was an extreme honor to be able to attend a farewell tribute to our Commander In Chief."
It was a formal ceremony that included honor guard flights from all five branches of service, a full color guard, the Army marching band, flag bearers for all fifty states and a cannon volley 21-gun salute.
The former President and Mrs. Bush were presented with medals for appreciation of their service. The former President spoke at the conclusion of the tribute where he reflected on his years as Commander-In-Chief. His speech was followed by a final "Pass and Review" of formations from all services.
This was not the first time Sergeant Webster had been in close company with former President Bush. Two years earlier -- on the Buckley flightline -- he was personally recognized by the former Commander-In-Chief for his outstanding volunteer service in chartering and operating the Hearts Across the Miles organization -- an organization that ships care packages to military personnel stationed in combat zones.
"Meeting the President was a great honor," Sergeant Webster said. "He is a very personable and engaging person -- very easy to talk with."