WASHINGTON – District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG) Soldiers and Airmen provided security, transportation and disaster response capabilities during the state funeral held at the Washington National Cathedral for the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush on Wednesday.
The DCNG joined with multiple agencies including the D.C. Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the U.S. Park Police to provide safety and security for people attending activities in and around the National Capital Region during the event.
"This joint mission is important because we provide unique force protection enhancements during the state funeral," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Malik Freeman, DCARNG 74th Troop Command deputy commander. "Vehicle operators are driving 5-ton cargo vehicles to provide enhanced mobile force protection assets to assist with motorcade operations. Our team has the opportunity to be a part of history by ensuring that the state funeral is safe and secure."
Members of the DCNG's Multi-agency Augmentation Command (MAC) also served as funeral escorts for 18 state governors who attended the state funeral as part of a governor escort mission.
According to U.S. Army Maj. Mark Ballantyne, operations officer and mission planner with the MAC, the governor escort mission is one of the national special security events that the unit spends months preparing for to ensure that its members are always ready at a moment's notice.
"The goal is to make it look like it was easy…because then that means we did our job right," Ballantyne said. "This is the culmination of planning over eighteen months in preparation for a state funeral for a president if and when it happens."
Soldiers and Airmen from the DCNG's 33rd Civil Support Team (CST) also joined with the Virginia National Guard's 34th CST to support interagency teams throughout the District with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive detection and response capabilities as part of the force protection package.