First lady Melania Trump to attend JBER event Friday

First lady Melania Trump will attend a military family event Friday morning on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage during her return from President Donald Trump's continuing tour of Asian nations, the White House announced early Thursday.

She will have a chance to check out various activities already planned on base Friday for celebration and remembrance, according to JBER. The Month of the Military Family Celebration event comes ahead of Veterans Day, which falls on Saturday but will be observed Friday.

The 673d Force Support Squadron — the group that runs youth events and recreation programs for military families — has arranged a morning of activities that include story time, games, arts and crafts, life skills, and science-technology-math demonstrations. One activity, called Paws to Read, encourages literacy by getting kids to read to pets.

The first lady is traveling with her own team from Beijing separate from the president, whose tour of Asia continues. She will land in Anchorage on an Air Force jet but not Air Force One, the designation given to the plane that the president flies on. It's a refueling stop that also provides her an opportunity to thank military members for their service, the White House said.

JBER has been used by other presidents and dignitaries for refueling. President Bill Clinton in 1994 ventured downtown for a sandwich with then-Gov. Tony Knowles. Earlier this year, a delegation that included China President Xi Jinping stopped in Anchorage for refueling after meetings in Florida with Trump. Gov. Walker took them sightseeing.

The first lady hasn't been to Alaska before, the White House said. Neither has President Trump, at least not as president.

The event is not open to the general public. It is targeted for military families.

Lisa Demer

Lisa Demer was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. Among her many assignments, she spent three years based in Bethel as the newspaper's western Alaska correspondent. She left the ADN in 2018.