More National Guard Troops Arrive to Support Inauguration
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2013 – Nearly 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen have begun arriving here today to support the 57th presidential inauguration, said the commanding general for the District of Columbia National Guard.
At a press conference at the D.C. Armory, Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz explained how the troops will be used to augment his local National Guard troops.
“We’re getting 32 states and territories coming in to support the District of Columbia National Guard [as we] prepare for this inauguration,” he said. “Most of these Guardsmen have been here before so they’re well familiar with the city and the support that is needed.”
Schwartz said while 7,000 troops were on the ground for the last inauguration, there are only 6,000 troops arriving “with the capability of bringing more troops into the district if required.”
“There are 54 National Guard entities around the country and they’re well versed with working with the local population,” he said. “And I think that will be very, very helpful as we engage the crowd here for this presidential inauguration.”
Army Brig. Gen. Art Hinaman, commander of Joint Task Force–District of Columbia, provided additional information about the National Guard’s support to the presidential inauguration.
“The D.C. National Guard has participated in every inauguration since the 1861 Abraham Lincoln inauguration where President Lincoln received his first salute from a D.C. Guardsman,” Hinaman said.
“More than 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 32 states and territories will become part of the 224-year history this weekend ensuring a consolidated, coordinated and effective approach for professional and timely presidential inauguration support,” he said.
Hinaman said the troops will be a “force multiplier” as the National Guard supports seven agencies for the inauguration -- the U.S. Secret Service, D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Metropolitan Police Department, U.S Park Police, D.C. Department of Transportation, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
“In a short, 36-hour period, approximately 6,000 national guard soldiers and airmen will be welcomed to Washington D.C., at one of our three reception locations -- Fort Belvoir, [Va.]; [Joint Base] Andrews, [in Maryland] and right here at the D.C. Armory,” Hinaman said.
These troops will become integrated into the biggest event the district holds on a reoccurring basis, he said, performing critical missions such as traffic control and crowd management.
“The National Guard will [also] be providing … communications, logistical, medical, public affairs and ceremonial support, among other functions,” Hinaman added.
Following the press conference, soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard, which provided the largest contingency of troops, began arriving for in-processing and swearing-in to augment the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
“Our soldiers and airmen are prepared for this mission,” Hinaman said, “just as we were in 2009 during the largest inauguration in history. The National Guard is [multipurpose] much like a Swiss Army knife, performing missions like the inauguration for our nation.”
Regardless of whether they are tasked with providing support for community events or securing the safety of Americans through homeland security, Hinaman said the National Guard is prepared.
“We’re ready, reliable, essential and accessible,” he said.
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