SW grad supports inaugural ceremonies

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sgt. Derrick Watkins, who is a 1990 graduate of Southwest High School, became a part of history as a member of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), which supported President Barack Obama's Inauguration on Jan. 20.

"I am elated to be a part of such a historic event and have the opportunity to render my service to my country in another form," said Watkins, who served as a light and heavy transportation noncommissioned officer during the inaugural events.

The logistics directorate that Watkins was assigned to was responsible for providing the sedans, vans, buses and cargo trucks that were used to support the Presidential Inauguration. Other military personnel participated in musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons.

Each year, around 5,000 service members participate in the inaugural celebration in view of the public and behind the scenes. Nearly 750 service members are assigned to AFIC to coordinate Department of Defense support in and around Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Armed Forces has participated in the Presidential Inauguration since April of 1789. Today, service members assigned to AFIC provide assistance to the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies.

Watkins, who graduated from Park University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology in 2005, has served in the United States Army for nine years.

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