Barnwell, S.C., Marine dances with first lady

President Obama and Michelle Obama share a dance with Air Force Staff Sgt. Bria Nelson and Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Easterling, a Barnwell, S.C., native, during the Commander in Chief's Ball.

A Barnwell, S.C., native and Marine danced with first lady Michelle Obama during the president’s inaugural ball Monday.

According to the Assoc­iated Press, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Easterling was one of four enlisted men and women chosen to dance with the president, first lady, vice president and his wife at the Commander in Chief’s Ball.

Easterling is an expert in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense who helped plan for Obama’s first inauguration and each of his State of the Union addresses, according to the AP.

Easterling and the other three honorees – Air Force Staff Sgt. Bria Nelson, Army Staff Sgt. Keesha Dentino and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Figueroa – are all stationed in the Washington, D.C., area after serving in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. They were chosen out of more than 50 candidates nominated by military leaders by a board of senior enlisted leaders based on criteria, including combat experience and volunteer efforts, the AP reported.

President George W. Bush was the first to hold the ball honoring U.S. troops. He began the tradition of taking a brief spin with one of the military guests.

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