News Column

Air Force Drill Team And Band Wrap Up Tour Of The Midwest

July 2, 2014



ANDREWS AFB, Md., July 2 -- The U.S. Air Force District of Washington issued the following news release:

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and U.S. Air Force Band's rock ensemble, Max Impact, completed a nine-day, seven-city, 10-performance tour across the Midwest.

Kicking off with two performances at the Milwaukee Air & Water Show, the groups performed for crowds at locations as varied as a Major League Baseball stadium in Milwaukee, in the middle of a small town main street in Minnesota, an urban plaza outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a verdant town park in Nebraska, and in front of a quintessential American monument, Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota.

"We saw a lot of people in a lot of cities," said Staff Sgt. Justin Lemmon, Drill Team non-commissioned officer in charge. "It was good community outreach and I thought the tour went very well."

"The small towns were great," said Drill Team member Airman 1st Class Omari Ferguson. "Everyone was so happy that we came to their town."

The high point of the tour was the Drill Team's two performances surrounded by tourists in front of Mount Rushmore.

"Just being in front of the monument and drilling there... there was so much patriotism during that performance," said Ferguson.

"Mount Rushmore was obviously the highlight of the tour," Lemmon said.

Known for their precision, discipline and ability to inspire awe, the Drill Team Airmen performed their routines, tossing bayonet-mounted M1 Garand rifles back and forth while in tight formation.

Their skills and abilities weren't lost on their audiences.

"No matter how many times I see any military show, I still get that lump in my throat from the deep pride and appreciation that I have for all our servicemembers," said Milwaukee resident John Seitz.

In many of the locations, the Drill Team performed prior to Max Impact, the rock ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Band. The combination of the performances, rock and roll, and precision choreography proved to be an attention-getting combination.

Max Impact performed original music and cover songs from a variety of genres, performing seven concerts in seven days.

"This is a diplomacy mission and music helps open doors," said Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Carson, Max Impact lead vocalist. "For some of our audiences, we may be the only person in uniform they'll ever meet."

"The tour was a lot of work, a lot of miles and a lot of fun," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Smith, Max Impact tour manager.

Upon completion of the tour, both groups agreed it was a success.

"We had a lot of team work with Max Impact and it went flawlessly," said Drill Team Flight Commander Capt. Alan Morford.

"It was an honor for us to carry the Air Force's message," said Drill Team Superintendent Master Sgt. Scott Slindee. "It's something we look forward to doing again."

The Drill Team is the traveling component of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard. Comprised of 26 Airmen, or the top 10 percent of the Honor Guard, the team promotes the Air Force mission by showcasing drill performances around the country to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen.

Max Impact is the premier rock band and one of six musical ensembles of the U.S. Air Force Band. Based in Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here, the band honors those who have served and inspires Americans to heightened patriotism and service. Through its music, the band aims to positively impact the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States.

For more information about the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and U.S. Air Force Band, visit http://www.honorguard.af.mil and http://www.usafband.af.mil.

by 1st Lt. Nathan Wallin

Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs

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