BATTLE CREEK, Mich. --
A cold and damp morning couldn’t keep hearts from buzzing with excitement as about 50 people waited to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, to W.K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Mich. on May 12, 2018.
110th Attack Wing members from Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Mich., along with their families, made up a large portion of the welcoming party. Most crowded under a tent to avoid the downpour, but were rewarded for their hardiness with a close-up view of Air Force Two’s touchdown and taxi. After exiting the aircraft, Vice President Pence took several moments to speak with them before the departure of his motorcade.
“This is great weather,” said Pence. “It’s always great to be in Michigan.”
There were many handshakes, selfies, and remarks of thanks exchanged during those few minutes.
“For him to take the time to thank us for our service is amazing,” said Master Sgt. Rebecca Pottruff, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Command and Control at the 217th Air Component Operations Squadron. “It gives me a feeling of renewed strength as to why I wear the uniform.”
Col. Daniel Whipple, 110th Attack Wing Vice Commander, was one of four community leaders who greeted Pence on the tarmac immediately after his arrival.
“I was truly honored to be able to greet Vice President Pence and his wife as they arrived in Battle Creek today,” said Whipple. “He was very personable and in a pleasant mood, despite the cold and rainy weather.”
When Pence stopped to shake hands with Lt. Col. T.J. Brennan of the 217th Air Operations Group, Brennan introduced his son Cael, a U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class, just back from Basic Military Training.
"That's outstanding," said Pence. "Let's give him a round of applause!"
The crowd enthusiastically obliged.
For the past week, members of the 110th Security Forces Squadron were in coordination with the Vice President’s secret service detail in a multi-jurisdictional environment to provide force protection support for the visit.
“We’re a small Air National Guard unit, so the opportunity to provide security assistance for the Vice President’s visit means a lot to us,” said Staff Sgt. Blaise Stanhope, 110th Security Forces Squadron. “It’s a huge honor, and it’s extremely motivating.”
Pence was arriving in Michigan to deliver the commencement address at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich., about 60 miles from Battle Creek.