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Air Force Welcomes the New Year at the Rose Bowl Parade

Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan, Space and Missile Systems Center commander, checks out a Rose Parade float topped by a GPS satellite model, Dec. 31. All floats in the parade are covered with flowers, seeds and other plant materials. It takes hundreds of volunteer man-hours to decorate the floats.   (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan, Space and Missile Systems Center commander, checks out a Rose Parade float topped by a GPS satellite model, Dec. 31. All floats in the parade are covered with flowers, seeds and other plant materials. It takes hundreds of volunteer man-hours to decorate the floats. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Retired Airman and Tournament of Roses Guide Paul Sherrod talks with SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan in the Rose Parade float preparation area, Dec. 31. The general visited the float decoration area during the pre-parade fan fest. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Retired Airman and Tournament of Roses Guide Paul Sherrod talks with SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan in the Rose Parade float preparation area, Dec. 31. The general visited the float decoration area during the pre-parade fan fest. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

The year’s Grand Marshal Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger waves to the crowd during the Tournament of Rose Parade, Jan 1. The US Airways pilot was honored for saving the lives of everyone aboard an Airbus A320 during an emergency landing on the Hudson River. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

The year’s Grand Marshal Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger waves to the crowd during the Tournament of Rose Parade, Jan 1. The US Airways pilot was honored for saving the lives of everyone aboard an Airbus A320 during an emergency landing on the Hudson River. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

A Marine Corps band from Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., marches in the 2010 Pasadena Rose Parade, Jan 1.  (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

A Marine Corps band from Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., marches in the 2010 Pasadena Rose Parade, Jan 1. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

The New Buffalo Soldiers, a historical reenactment group, rode horses down the parade route during the 2010 Pasadena Rose Parade, Jan 1. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

The New Buffalo Soldiers, a historical reenactment group, rode horses down the parade route during the 2010 Pasadena Rose Parade, Jan 1. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

A group of Tuskegee Airmen wave to the crowd from the City of West Covina‘s float during the Tournament of Roses Parade, Jan 1. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

A group of Tuskegee Airmen wave to the crowd from the City of West Covina‘s float during the Tournament of Roses Parade, Jan 1. (Photo by Atiba S. Copeland)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force welcomed the New Year at the 121st Annual Rose Bowl Parade along with millions of spectators who line up the Pasadena streets to celebrate the first day of the year.

It is opportunity for the Air Force and other Armed Services to interact with the local community, said Lt. Gen. John "Tom" Sheridan, commander of Space and Missile Systems Center.

"It is a chance to get people who support the Tournament of Roses together, to talk, share food, to meet each other and enjoy the beautiful California sunshine weather," said General Sheridan. "Every year the event becomes more meaningful. This tradition brings out the best of America."

Air Force participated in numerous Tournament events in the week leading up to the much anticipated Rose Bowl parade and the Rose Bowl game. The festivities were held from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1, and began with a float-decorating event where game fans got a backstage glimpse of the floral floats in their final stages of preparation.

General Sheridan put the finishing touches on one of the exhibit floats, attended the Tournament of Roses President's Ball and Parade Kick-off luncheon, and represented the Air Force at the parade and game in which the Big Ten Conference Champion Ohio State defeated the Pacific-10 Conference Champion Oregon State.

Tournament of Roses is an institution in America, and there are institutions that stand for great things. Everyone in Tournament of Roses are volunteers. They do beautiful work decorating the floral floats - it's only natural to get our U.S. military and public together and share stories, General Sheridan said.

The more-than-a-century old parade, the theme this year "2010: A Cut Above the Rest," included numerous floral floats, spirited marching bands, high-stepping equestrian units, and a strong military presence of the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band and honor guard, U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, and a flyover of U.S. Navy F/A-18s in the "missing man" formation in memory of Tournament of Roses President Gary DiSano, a former Navy officer, who passed away last year. Other military leadership in attendance was Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Kilcline, commander of Naval Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, commanding general of 1st Marine Division.

"It is an honor to be here and share a little bit of our Air Force lives with the public," said General Sheridan. "It is important for the American public to get to know us, to know what we stand for and know what we are. I have had a chance to share the Air Force story with the public and fans here."

At the Rose Bowl festivities, youth and parents interested in the Air Force had the opportunity to get an up-close look at the U.S. Air Force "Inspire" interactive road show, as the Air Force 's 369th Recruiting Squadron were at the Rose Bowl grounds discussing Air Force career opportunities.

"Tournament of Roses is an annual American tradition that attracts tens of thousands of visitors," said Lt. Col. James Hunsicker, commander 369th Recruiting Squadron. "Expo Village is always one of the highlights of the Tournament. Our presence here is a highly effective recruiting effort that promotes awareness of our Air Force and specifically our local recruiting offices."

Last year's Air Force exhibit at the Expo Village brought in more than 400 leads and contacts, helping us find the Airmen of tomorrow and enhance our most important resource, our people, Colonel Hunsicker added.

The Tournament of Roses is an opportunity to start off the year with millions of people experiencing the Air Force and remind the local and global television audience of the Armed Forces' capabilities and contributions.

"We are here to let the public know what we do and what our accomplishments are. It is the sacrifices of our Armed Forces and their families that we are able to enjoy this great American tradition," said Senior Airman Amanda Nye, 369th Recruiter.