WASHINGTON – National Guard members from any state, territory or the District of Columbia who supported the 59th presidential inauguration on Title 32 orders are authorized to receive the D.C. National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon.
“The ribbon is to recognize the sacrifice of Guardsmen who leave their businesses, their families, their educations to come here and ensure the peaceful transition of presidential power,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general, D.C. National Guard. “They’re part of a security apparatus in support of the U.S. Secret Service. For many, it’s a once-in-a-career opportunity, and I think this ribbon is befitting of their time, energy and effort to support democracy.”
Developed by Walker and approved by the Army Institute of Heraldry in late 2020, the ribbon features red, white and blue vertical bands at each end and three red stars centered horizontally on a white background. The three stars represent the district flag and the red, white and blue colors represent the U.S. flag.
As a D.C. National Guard award, the ribbon is worn on military dress uniforms after federal and state-level medals and ribbons when the service member is not on federal Title 10 orders.
It’s also meant to recognize the Guard’s historical tie to the inauguration.
“The National Guard has been involved with the inauguration of [the U.S.] president since George Washington when militia groups escorted him to New York for his first inauguration,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael F. Brooks, senior enlisted leader of the D.C. National Guard. “The D.C. National Guard’s specific history with the inauguration starts in 1861, with the inauguration of President Lincoln, where there were credible threats to the [president-elect], so the D.C. National Guard escorted him to the Capitol. And the reason why that’s important is our primary role is not ceremonial, it is to provide security, and it has been since 1861.”
While the National Guard’s inauguration support is the responsibility of the D.C. National Guard, other states and territories have assisted since 2009. During the inauguration of Joe Biden in January, more than 26,000 National Guard members from all 50 states, three territories, and the district provided support.
The ribbon is only authorized for award to those Guard members who participated in the inauguration, but regulations may be changed to allow it to be awarded retroactively to those who took part in previous inaugurations, said Walker.
“We believe that it is fitting to award those Guardsmen,” he said. “Any Guardsmen alive should be given this award in recognition of their service during the inaugural periods established by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. And it’s something they should look back on fondly for their participation in history.”
If authorized, National Guard members who receive the award for supporting multiple presidential inaugurations will be authorized to wear numeral devices for each additional inauguration. The award is also authorized for presentation to civilian personnel as a certificate, but not a military decoration.