More than 7,500 National Guard members from 44 states,
territories and the District of Columbia were on hand Jan. 20 to
support the 58th presidential inauguration.
January 20, 2017 - Army Spc. Shaleek Blackman, left, with the Delaware Army National Guard's 153rd Military Police Company; and Army Staff Sgt. Eric Stunkard, with the Delaware Army Guard's 262nd Component Repair Company keep an eye out as crowds make their way to the National Mall for the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.
The soldiers were among more than 7,500 National Guard members from
44 states, territories and the District of Columbia who supported
local authorities during the inauguration. Air Force photo by Tech.
Sgt. Erich B. Smith (DoD News photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt.
Erich B. Smith)
"This is the Super Bowl event for the District of Columbia
National Guard," said Army Lt. Col. Nicole L. Brugato, a personnel
officer at the National Guard Bureau who was part of the joint task
force supporting the event.
Soldiers and airmen provided
security, crowd control, traffic management, and logistics and
communications capabilities while working with the U.S. Secret
Service, U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department,
among other agencies.
"It [the inaugural event] took so many
integral parts, so many pieces for it to come out smoothly," said
Army Pfc. Michael Arthur, a military police officer with the
Louisiana Army National Guard's 239th Military Police Company, who
worked with officers from the Transportation Security Administration
at a checkpoint along the inaugural parade route.
While boots on the ground played a key role in
ensuring safety and security, Guard members could be found
underground, as well. Army Sgt. John Garnett, with the Tennessee
Army National Guard's 251st Military Police Company, worked with
officers from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
providing added security in subway stations near the U.S. Capitol.
For Garnett, the day was an exercise in being "vigilant and
resilient, and dedicated to keeping everyone as safe as possible."
Other Guard members had similar thoughts on the day.
job here is to defend and enforce the laws of our nation, and help
with the smooth transition of presidential power," said Army Sgt.
Kurtis Brown, with the South Dakota Army National Guard's 235th
Military Police Company.
January 20, 2017 - Army Sgt. Kurtis Brown, a military police officer with the South Dakota Army National Guard's 235th Military Police Company, answers questions from a spectator near a checkpoint during the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Brown was one of more than 7,500 National Guard members from 44 states, territories and the District of Columbia who supported local authorities during the inauguration. (DoD News photo by U.S. Air Force Tech.
Sgt. Erich B. Smith)
Air Force Master Sgt. Heidi Gibson, a service specialist with the
Florida Air National Guard's 202nd Redhorse Squadron, said remaining
flexible was a key element needed throughout the day.
is about teamwork and communication and [being] willing to take on
anything [while] making adjustments," she said.
In addition to providing support to local
authorities, about 100 Guard members provided traditional ceremonial
support, including marching in the inaugural parade.
Command Sgt. Maj. Wayne L. Bowser, the senior enlisted advisor of
the District of Columbia National Guard, said he hoped young
soldiers and airmen left with a sense of fulfillment and pride from
taking part in the inauguration.
"There is a small percentage
of folks who wear the uniform," he said. "There is a smaller
[percentage] who will get a chance to be a part of this type of
The National Guard's presence in the presidential
inauguration dates to 1789, when local militia units and members of
the regular Army took part in George Washington's inaugural events
in New York City.
By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erich B. Smith
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