89th AW supports president’s farewell flight

Col. Christopher Thompson (center), 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, his wife (center right), Shannon, and Tech. Sgt. Brian Greene (right), Special Airlift Mission passenger services agent, stand at attention as Air Force One taxis with the president to the runway for takeoff at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. Staff Sgt. Heather Alred (left), 811th Security Forces Squadron detail chief, maintained a watchful eye on the perimeter of the flightline until the aircraft was airborne. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Col. Christopher Thompson (center), 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, his wife (center right), Shannon, and Tech. Sgt. Brian Greene (right), Special Airlift Mission passenger services agent, stand at attention as Air Force One taxis with the president to the runway for takeoff at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. Staff Sgt. Heather Alred (left), 811th Security Forces Squadron detail chief, maintained a watchful eye on the perimeter of the flightline until the aircraft was airborne. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, greet Col. Christopher Thompson, 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, and his wife, Shannon, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The 89th AW provides global special air mission airlift, logistics, aerial port and communications for the president, first lady, vice president and cabinet members to ensure their air transportation to and from JBA is comfortable, reliable and protected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, greet Col. Christopher Thompson, 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, and his wife, Shannon, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The 89th AW provides global special air mission airlift, logistics, aerial port and communications for the president, first lady, vice president and cabinet members to ensure their air transportation to and from JBA is comfortable, reliable and protected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

President Barack Obama greets members of the 89th Airlift Wing’s Presidential Airlift Group at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The president departed for his home city of Chicago to deliver his farewell speech to the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

President Barack Obama greets members of the 89th Airlift Wing’s Presidential Airlift Group at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The president departed for his home city of Chicago to deliver his farewell speech to the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Col. Christopher Thompson (left), 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, salutes President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, as they ascend the stairs to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The president’s next scheduled flight on Air Force One is Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, when his successor, president-elect Donald Trump, takes the oath of office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Col. Christopher Thompson (left), 89th Airlift Wing vice commander, salutes President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, as they ascend the stairs to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Jan. 10, 2017. The president’s next scheduled flight on Air Force One is Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, when his successor, president-elect Donald Trump, takes the oath of office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The 89th Airlift Wing supported President Barack Obama’s final official flight as president on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Jan. 10.

First lady, Michelle Obama, accompanied the president to Chicago where he delivered a farewell address to the nation.

“Serving the President of the United States is the highest honor for any Airman, and the Commander in Chief is the 89th AW’s top priority,” said Col. Christopher Thompson, 89th Airlift Wing vice commander.

The 89th AW comprises an air expeditionary, combat-ready force of more than 1,100 personnel, including Airmen who work at JBA’s passenger terminal and flightline to ensure the president’s air travel is a flawless operation.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Greene, Special Airlift Mission passenger services agent, stood on the flightline alongside Thompson to render a salute to Air Force One as it taxied to the runway for takeoff.

“It’s awesome to be a part of this kind of mission,” said Greene. “When I joined the Air Force, I never thought I’d be doing this.”

Staff Sgt. Heather Alred, 811th Security Forces Squadron operations security detail chief, was on duty during the president’s movement from Marine One to Air Force One as well.

“As detail chief, I’m extremely proud to have played a role to ensure the president and his cabinet secretaries traveling with him have a safe and comfortable departure from JBA,” said Alred.

The president’s next scheduled flight on Air Force One is Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, when his successor, president-elect Donald Trump, takes the oath of office.

The 89th AW provides global special mission airlift, logistics, aerial port and communications for the president and other senior military and elected leaders as tasked by the White House, Air Force chief of staff and Air Mobility Command.

“Our reliability rating is highest in the Air Force,” said Thompson. “This is because we only hire the best to serve in the 89th Airlift Wing, and each of our Airmen commit to perfection as the standard."

He added that the 89th AW has supported the president on 1,293 flights and the wing’s Presidential Airlift Group maintains a 100 percent on-time departure reliability rate and, as a whole, it maintains a 98.8 percent in mission reliability across the board.