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Vandenberg Airman joins Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

WASHINGTON --  Senior Airman Mendoza is a member of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee preparing for the 56th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WASHINGTON -- Senior Airman Mendoza is a member of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee preparing for the 56th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WASHINGTON -- Senior Airman Nick Mendoza, son of Humberto and Catalina Mendoza of El Paso, Texas, recently joined the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, which is preparing to support the 56th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.

AFIC is a joint service committee charged with coordinating all military ceremonial support for the inaugural period. As a joint committee, it includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including Reserve and National Guard components.

Airman Mendoza, a traffic management journeyman with the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Vandenberg, is assigned to the logistics directorate as a light transportation driver. He is responsible for driving sedans and vans, completing operator checks and services of assigned vehicles, and providing dedicated transportation support for the Presidential Inaugural. Airman Mendoza is an active duty member of the United States Air Force and has served for two years.

"I feel that I'm of high importance and it comes of great honor to be part of the 2009 Armed Forces Inaugural Committee," said Airman Mendoza. "I couldn't be more proud than to work along side the different branches of the U.S. military."

The U.S. Armed Forces have participated in the inauguration of the president of the United States since April 30, 1789, when members of the U.S. Army, local militia units and Revolutionary War veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City. Two hundred twenty years later, the participation of the armed forces continues to honor our commander in chief, recognize civilian control of the armed forces and celebrate democracy.

Participation by the armed forces traditionally includes musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons. Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen assigned to AFIC also provide invaluable assistance to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, a not-for-profit, partisan organization representing the president-elect, and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies.

The Secretary of Defense has authorized nearly 750 service members to be assigned to AFIC by Inauguration Day to coordinate Department of Defense support in and around the District of Columbia. Historically, as many as 5,000 service members have participated in the celebration, both in view of the public and behind the scenes.

Airman Mendoza's role in the 56th Presidential Inaugural is like that of any other essential military mission during peace or war. Just as our military men and women are showing their commitment to this country while deployed around the globe, participation of service members in this traditional event demonstrates our military's support to the nation's newly elected commander in chief.