118th Rose Parade kicks off with silent 'boom'

  • Published
  • By Candrea Thomas
  • Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
Crowds cheered with thunderous applause as the Air Force kicked off its 60th anniversary year with a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and two F-22As opening the 118th annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1.

Gen. Kevin Chilton, Air Force Space Command commander at Peterson AFB, Colo., and Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, Space and Missile Systems Center commander at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., and their spouses participated in numerous Tournament events in the week leading up to the Rose Bowl game between the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan.

Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, Air Force Flight Test Center commander at Edwards AFB, Calif. -- where the test B-2 and F-22 flyover aircraft are based -- also represented the Air Force at the parade.

More than a million spectators turned out on the sunny Pasadena streets to enjoy the pageantry and tradition of 97 floral floats, high-stepping equestrians and spirited marching bands during the parade themed "Our Good Nature." The B-2 and F-22 flyovers reminded the local and global television audience of the Air Force's 60th anniversary this year.

"This is a great opportunity and exciting event," General Chilton said. "Cathy and I were proud to represent the Air Force and Air Force Space Command."

Festivities were held from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1 and began at Expo Village, where fans gathered to see floats being constructed. Generals Chilton and Hamel attended a director's dinner, toured the Tournament House, and represented the Air Force at the parade and game in which the Pacific-10 Conference champion Southern California Trojans defeated the Big-10 Conference champion Michigan Wolverines.

General Chilton set the stage for the day in a live interview with Los Angeles' KTLA television in its pre-parade countdown show, highlighting the Air Force's role in the Global War on Terrorism and the importance of space to America, paying tribute to America's deployed Airmen and celebrating the Air Force's 60th Anniversary.

Air Force members from SMC and the 369th Recruiting Squadron were at the Rose Bowl grounds discussing military opportunities with interested youth and parents while displaying the service's multimedia presentation "Do Something Amazing."

Between the first and second quarters of the game, General Chilton went onto the football field and was introduced to the sold-out crowd as the senior Armed Forces representative, while almost 94,000 Rose Bowl fans viewed the Air Force's 60-second "Heritage to Horizons" video on the stadium's Jumbotrons.

Four F-16s from the California Air National Guard base in Fresno opened the pre-game activities and the pilots were later introduced on the field to an appreciative crowd.

"I am thrilled to share with Rose Bowl participants and home viewers the history and impressive accomplishments of the world's greatest air and space force," General Chilton said. "It is because of the sacrifices of our military men and women and their families that we are able to enjoy this great American tradition.

"As parade Grand Marshal Star Wars producer George Lucas would say, 'May the force be with you.'"

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