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NEWS | April 25, 2008

Job well done, Team Andrews

By Col. Eric Snadecki 316th Wing Commander

One week ago today as we said goodbye to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, we closed another chapter in Andrews Air Force Base history. 

I would like to personally thank each one of you for your support and efforts during this significant and truly successful event. 

While His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's ceremonial arrival and departure were both brief events; for a moment in time, Andrews Air Force Base was placed on the world's stage and we shined. This was the first time that President George W. Bush has come to Andrews to welcome another world leader and only the second time in Andrews' history that a President has done so. The only other time was in September 1959 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower greeted Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev. 

Prior to this time, heads of state arrived and departed from Washington National Airport. The port of entry and departure for dignitaries transferred to Andrews Air Force Base in 1959 after the completion of a 14 million dollar upgrade to the existing runway and the addition of a new parallel runway. Soviet Premier Khrushchev was the first head of state to land at Andrews Air Force Base. 

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's arrival and the departure, involved numerous personnel from across the installation. From the personnel details that were provided from all the various organizations; to the 79th Medical Wing who provided teams to assist in the event of an emergency, or the 89th Airlift Wing's Aerial Port Squadron support; to all the installation's flying organizations that rearranged flying schedules to accommodate airfield operations; to members of the 316th Wing who worked countless hours in the preparation and execution; your efforts are truly appreciated. Whether your role was standing a post or working on a detail during the arrival or departure, escorting guests or making sure no contingency was overlooked, you ensured success. These events took a team and all efforts were invaluable to the tremendous accomplishment we all share. 

Team Andrews also relied on assistance from agencies across the national capital region including the Military District of Washington, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. State Department, the White House and the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. All of these organizations provided personnel, expertise and assistance for this historical event.
To everyone on Andrews Air Force Base, I would also like to thank you for your patience, sacrifice, and acceptance of the mission impact that the arrival and departure created.
We in "Team Andrews" can all be very proud of our role and share in the success of Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit. 

With great appreciation,
Colonel Snads