113th Wing hosts Maryland Congressmember
By Tech. Sgt Craig Clapper, 113th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 27, 2011
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard hosted and provided an orientation flight to a U.S. Congress member June 29 here.
U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, from Maryland's 4th Congressional District, received an orientation flight in a 113 WG, F-16D, Fighting Falcon aircraft.
The purpose of Rep. Edwards' visit and flight was to gain a better insight into the daily operations of an Air National Guard unit. Rep. Edwards recalled flying with the 201st Airlift squadron, but was not entirely familiar with the mission of the Air National Guard.
Rep. Edwards represents D.C. Air Guard members who reside in Prince Georges and Montgomery counties. Raised in a military family, Rep Edwards has supported military and veteran's affairs issues and has worked on the sub committees for space and aeronautics. Flying in a fighter aircraft happened to be a life-long desire.
"My father was a career Air Force man and I have been around the military community for a long time" Edwards said, adding "you guys are the professionals, the experts, and it's amazing what you can do. This is a very exciting day!"
Rep. Edwards was not the only one excited about her flight on this day. Staff Sgt. Jessie McCarley, 121 Fighter Squadron survival and egress instructor, instructed Ms. Edwards on what to do should a mishap happen during the flight. After demonstrating how to properly eject from the aircraft and land safely, with minimal injury, Sergeant McCarley felt very confident that Rep. Edwards was ready to fly.
"Ms. Edwards showed great enthusiasm and confidence," Sergeant McCarley said. "Perhaps the stressors of her job prepared her for the training and the flight. She was very excited both before and after the flight."
Rep. Edwards was accompanied by her legislative correspondent, Jay Bluford. He was able to see all the training that pilots, and crew members go through prior to flight and expressed his enthusiasm (and a hint of jealously) for the flight Rep. Edwards was about to undertake.
"I have always wanted to fly but today is her chance," said Mr. Bluford. He jokingly added "so when is my turn?"
Rep. Edwards experienced some typical exhaustion from the flight but she was enthusiastic about the prospect of a future flight aboard another fighter.
"I had a blast," said Rep. Edwards."It was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it [fly] again if given the chance."