Traveling aboard Air Force One with President Obama to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are Cabinet members, military officials and Congressional members. Those with President Obama include many of the same individuals who sat with him in the White House Situation Room guiding the President during his decision making process - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor General James Jones, Chief of U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus (who graduated from West Point in the top 5% of his class in 1974), and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.
In attendance are Congressional members from both sides of the aisle - US Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) who graduated from West Point in 1971, US Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL), US Congressman Jim Marshall (D-GA), US Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY), US Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL), US Congressman Walt Minnick (D-ID), US Congressman Chris Carney (D-PA) and US Congressman John Hall (D-NY)
The audience of approximately 4,250 will be composed of Senior, Junior and Sophomore cadets as well as West Point leadership, families of cadets, and about 150 members of the local community. When President Obama looks out over his audience, one of the people he will see is First Captain Tyler Gordy who is the top ranking cadet at West Point. And directly in front of him, will be members of West Point's Class of 2010 who are the next group of graduates and presumably men and women who will be affected by the President's decision.
Another person in the audience is 1st Lt. Dan Bercshinski who is in a wheelchair after loosing both his legs in Afghanistan. He is a member of West Point class of 2007 and the President met him during a visit to Walter Reed.