By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON â€“ More than 9,000 National Guardsmen and women will support the 56th Presidential Inauguration, the Guardâ€™s largest contribution to an inauguration in its 372-year history.
â€œThe National Guard will help to ensure a safe and secure environment for all attendees,â€ said Manny Pacheco, spokesperson for the National Guard Bureau. â€œNational Guard members are a force multiplier to a variety of federal and state agencies and military task forces.â€
National Guard members from several different states and the District of Columbia are working for Joint Task Force-District of Columbia.
"The number of National Guard members that will be used is larger than we've ever had in history," said Brig. Gen. Barbaranette Bolden, commander, Joint Task Force-District of Columbia.
National Guard members from several different states and the District of Columbia are working for Joint Task Force-District of Columbia. Citizen-Soldiers and â€“Airmen are providing communications, transport, traffic control and medical and logistical support â€“ as well as playing music and marching in the inaugural parade.
â€œThose National Guard personnel will help quite a bit,â€ Cathy Lanier, the District of Columbiaâ€™s police chief, said last week. â€œ[They] help us â€¦ keep law enforcement focused on law enforcement.â€
The Guardâ€™s support to civilian authorities works well because relationships are already well-established through previous events and shared training exercises. â€œThey know that we will be there and that we will perform professionally, no matter what the situation,â€ Bolden said.
Contributing National Guard states include Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. According to state National Guard officials:
Communications Squadron and the 118th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Soldiers from the 117th Military Police Battalion.
The National Guard Bureau participates in Armed Forces Inaugural Committee efforts while coordinating the support provided by the National Guard with federal and state civil authorities. A joint operations center is being staffed around the clock through the inauguration.
The National Guard has a long history of supporting presidential inaugurations. Local militia units marched with George Washington as he proceeded to his first inauguration on April 30, 1789, according to Guard historians.
â€œThe National Guard is proud to continue this tradition of supporting and defending both the president of the United States, our constitutional form of government, and our American way of life,â€ Pacheco said.
Guardmembers are proud of their role helping ensure a safe and secure environment for the event, Bolden said. "Every Soldier and Airman that comes here will be sharing this historic event with their families for many years to come," Bolden said.