Special Guests to Join First Lady for State of the Union Address

President Obama delivering the 2012 State of the Union Address (White House photo)


Traditionally — but especially during times of war or conflict — military have been special guests of the President, the Vice President or their ladies at State of the Union Addresses.

Tonight, three guests with military ties will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, in the first lady’s box at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, according to the American Forces Press Service.

They are:

– Marine Corps Sgt. Sheena Adams, who was deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province from September 2010 to April 2011 in direct support of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. In September 2011, she returned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force’s advisor training cell, where she re-engineered the program of instruction for female engagement team members. She is a native of Kauai, Hawaii, and now lives in Vista, Calif.

– Marine Corps Sgt. Carlos Evans, who was on his fourth overseas deployment when he suffered injuries in Afghanistan that resulted in the loss of both of his legs and his left hand. During his recovery, he met the first lady and later visited the White House, where the president signed his prosthetic arm. He credits the support he has received from private organizations to Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden’s efforts in the Joining Forces initiative. In 2012, he received a custom home from Operation Coming Home. A Puerto Rico native, he and now resides in Cameron, N.C., with his wife and two young daughters.

– Tracey Hepner of Arlington, Va., is co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, which provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families. She a master behavior detection officer for the Homeland Security Department, and is married to the first openly gay or lesbian general officer in the military, Army Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith.

CODA:

We have written about Gen. Tammy Smith here

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist