WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia National Guard is preparing to provide logistical and ceremonial support to the 59th Presidential Inauguration. The National Guard has a proud history of supporting the event every four years while balancing safety and security.
When George Washington traveled from his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, local militias – the modern-day National Guard – escorted him to the then-capital in New York City. President Abraham Lincoln received his first salute from a D.C. Guardsman during his inauguration in 1861.
The National Guard supported the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008, which drew one of the largest audiences of any event ever held in Washington. President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration included the support of 7,800 National Guard personnel from the District of Columbia, 43 states and three territories.
The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20 is expected to be substantially different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The D.C. National Guard's support of the inauguration incorporates Army and Air National Guard units from U.S. states and territories, with the D.C. National Guard as the lead unit. The National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are sworn in as special police for the presidential inauguration, a protocol that allows troops to perform their duties in the D.C. area.
Guard members assist with crowd management, traffic control, emergency response services, communication, and ceremonial duties. The National Guard is also prepared and trained to assist civil authorities.