President Obama greets Flying Yankees
By Capt. Jefferson S. Heiland, 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 14, 2011
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- The Commander in Chief greeted members of the Air National Guard's 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn. May 18, 2011. The number of Guardsmen allowed to meet the president was limited due to heightened security measures.
President Obama's stop at the base was brief as he quickly boarded his limousine and travelled by motorcade to New London to address graduating cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement ceremony. Obama did take time, however, to greet each member in uniform.
One wing member who was pleased to be selected to be among those able to greet the president was Senior Airman Danielle Cummings of the 103rd Force Support Squadron.
"Here on base, I never thought I would have that opportunity to actually meet the current president," she said. "It was definitely an honor and a memorable experience that I will have forever."
It had been originally estimated that some 3,000 people would attend the commencement exercise in New London, but inclement weather forced the proceedings indoors and put a damper on the turnout as a limited number of guests could fit in the auditorium.
Weather conditions also forced Air Force One's initial approach at Bradley to be aborted. The pilot circled around and landed on the second attempt without incident.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Academy officials, presidents traditionally address the graduating class at one of the federal service academies on a rotating basis. Obama addressed the U.S. Military Academy class at West Point, N.Y., last year and the U.S. Naval Academy's commencement in 2009.