An inaugural opportunity: 934th Airlift Wing Airman’s first experience with a presidential visit

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy Leddick
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

There are many opportunities available for those in the Air Force, regardless of reserve or active components.

The caveat is that those opportunities are to strive for and are for those who express eagerness and display the utmost efforts to achieve.

You never know when an opportunity arises of such scope for the first time in your career that you’d be sharing it with your friends, family and future Airmen down the road, such as assisting in the arrival of the President of the United States.

This was exactly what happened for Airman 1st Class Jaxon Jeffries, a 934th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

Jeffries has only been in the Air Force Reserve for a year and a half. During that time, he has been through the Delayed Entry Program, where he drilled on weekends along with other DEP trainees at the 934th Airlift Wing’s Development and Training Flight.

Afterward, he shipped off to basic military training in Texas before heading off to technical school to learn his job in the reserve. After receiving a certificate of completion from his schooling, he made his way back to the 934 AW, where he’s been for two months now. Jeffries has been assigned on extended orders for his Accelerated Mission Readiness Training, a period of time provided for new reserve Airmen to become more proficient with on-the-job experience and training with full-time members.

“It’s a great unit,” said Jeffries. “I really like the AMX Squadron. I don’t have much maintenance background, but they welcomed me in and taught me a lot so far.”

Jeffries learned tasks and duties such as marshaling aircraft, which is fundamentally the term used to guide aircraft to designated positions using orange marshaling wands, operating aerospace ground equipment, performing repairs, conducting inspections and chocking aircraft.

“If something does break, you can’t really expect it to happen,” said Jeffries. “You got to be prepared and ready to tackle the challenge.”

Jeffries did not have any expectations during his time on AMRT aside from learning from his colleagues and supervisors on how to be a more adept mechanic. He definitely did not expect to be given the opportunity of a lifetime to assist in the arrival of POTUS, Secret Service and the White House’s traveling media.

“It kind of caught me off guard because I didn’t know he was coming,” said Jeffries. “My flight chief called me into her office and was like, ‘hey, do you want to be the person placing the chocks?’ So I said ‘absolutely, ma’am, I would love to do that!’ It’s crazy that I ever got this opportunity, so I hands-down took it, and I’m really glad I got to do it.”

Chocking the aircraft ensures it doesn’t roll out of place if the brakes don’t work by placing blocks on either side of the wheels. This process is imperative and required for maintainers during any maintenance, inspection or when an aircraft is parked for everyone’s safety. This specific duty was what Jeffries was tasked with and relied on to perform for the arrival of President Joe Biden during his visit to the 934 AW.

Essentially Jeffries’ role gave the OK for the president and his accompanying party to exit Air Force One onto the flight line.

Jeffries recalls the entire event as surreal. The Secret Service flooded the base to ensure maximum security and Jeffries was provided guidance and positioning for where to post and perform his duty. He felt more at ease knowing other crew chiefs had their own tasks by his side.

The time came for Air Force One’s arrival. Since morning, all 934 AW personnel, White House staff and Secret Service have been working tirelessly, but now time has slowed. Everyone was positioned at the flight line, ready for their cues as anticipation grew.

A speck in the distance. Air Force One was approaching.

“It was nerve-racking seeing the plane slowly come in,” said Jeffries. “I thought ‘oh man, here he comes.’ Once it stopped, I walked up, put the chocks in, and after that it occurred to me: ‘Dang. I just chocked Air Force One!’ That’s pretty cool.”

The rest of the maintenance crew got into their positions to line the stairs up with the front and back of the aircraft for the traveling media and the president to exit from. Jeffries went back to his post and watched from the sidelines. The traveling media surrounded the president while he descended the flight of stairs and greeted Col. Ethan Hinkins, the 934 AW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kristen Maloney, the 934th Mission Support Group senior enlisted leader, who stood at attention at the base of the stairs.

The president made his greetings to all the distinguished visitors, got in the presidential state car and rode off. The moment was gone almost as fast as it took for Jeffries to chock the aircraft.


While short-lived and from a distance, Jeffries will always reflect on this as one of the most significant opportunities in his Air Force Reserve career thus far.

“It reinforces my self-esteem professionally,” said Jeffries. “It showed me that our job matters and that we have a reason to be here.”

Though, as eager as Jeffries is to jump on the next opportunity and grow as a professional, he feels the next presidential event should go to another Airman rather than himself.

“If the opportunity came up again, I don’t know if I’d do it again because the new Airmen after me should have their fair share,” he said. “I had a Tech. Sgt. who spoke with me who did the exact same thing I did, but with Obama. I want to pass that torch to the next Airman.”

In this wisdom, Jeffries already exemplifies qualities of what it means to be a Wingman and a leader. In his short time being a member of the Air Force Reserve, Jeffries has already had the opportunity of a lifetime with his first experience assisting in the arrival of POTUS.

Upon his reflection after the event, Jeffries has already devised some words of advice for his peers and future Airmen:

“Search for opportunities, take them — volunteer,” he said. “Do your job and do it well. Get close with your supervisors and let them know you’re reliable and eager to learn.”