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JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. Laura Kaeppeler Miss America 2012 and 16-year-old Bailey Reese, a torchbearer during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, were special guests of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard this past week here at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB).

Both women witnessed demonstrations by the unit’s drill team, funeral bearers, color guard, flight march and rifle team. Kaeppeler, the first woman representing the state of Wisconsin to win Miss America since 1973, was quite impressed with what she saw from the group, particularly its drill team.

“Incredible! I’m amazed at your precision and timing during your exercise,” Kaeppeler remarked to the drill team following their demonstration which included them spinning and throwing their rifles up in the air. “I was told you won an award not too long ago and I can see why. That was just fantastic.”

While Kaeppeler was part of a USO tour of military installations, Reese visited as part of her organization Hero Hugs. She started the organization along with her mother, Diana, when she was seven as a way of giving thanks to service members and their families. Over the years, her organization has sent care packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The demonstrations were all pretty cool,” Reese said afterwards. “It’s always nice to spend some time with service members from different military branches. They give so much. I’m really appreciative of what they do.”

For more information on Reese’s organization, visit