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NEWS | March 4, 2017

Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing support the 58th Presidential Inauguration

By 1st Lt. James Killen, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

As part of the specially created Joint Task Force – District of Columbia, approximately 7,500 National Guard members from around the nation and territories were in the nation's capital this past January to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump, including three groups from the Kentucky Air National Guard.

The task force’s mission was to assist with security, communication, medical evacuation and provide other logistical support including traffic control during the days leading up to the event as well as inauguration day. Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing Services Flight, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, Civil Engineer Squadron and Special Tactics Squadron all performed various duties within their capacities to support the prestigious event.

"The Kentucky National Guard is proud to be a part of such a historical event," said Army Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell, Kentucky's assistant adjutant general, during a National Guard Bureau interview. "This mission serves as yet another example of the unique role of the National Guard, our interoperability with civilian agencies and our unbridled service to the nation."

Five members of the services flight arrived in Washington D.C. Jan, 17, and were positioned at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins football team, where their mission was to prepare and serve meals for Guard personnel who were arriving daily as part of the task force.

Using a mobile kitchen and working side-by-side with approximately 45 services flight members from other Air Guard units, more than 3,500 meals were prepared and served twice a day at the stadium for both Air and Army National Guard personnel who were billeted there.

Two members of the EOD flight were attached to the secret service and performed duties associated with their mission that included sweeping vehicles, personnel and any equipment the personnel might be carrying.

Specifically, the explosive ordnance specialists assisted the Secret Service in security sweeps at a State Department event the day before the inauguration and continued their support the next day at the event itself.

“Our mission in inauguration day was to search all of the buses that brought military bands to perform for the event,” said Master Sgt. Jason Warden, who continued to explain that they were also responsible for searching all of the instruments and equipment that each band member had with them.

“It was a very long day that started early in the morning,” he explained. “We were very tired and ready to return home but we were also very proud to be a part of the day and to represent Kentucky by doing our specialized job.”

With the Wing’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center, four emergency managers from the CE squadron, assisted by two communications specialists from STS, arrived at their initial staging area in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they connected with eight other Guard MEOCs.

After a few days of training, the nine MEOCs traveled on to Washington, D.C. to perform their mission of assisting civilian emergency services with state-of-the-art communication assets.

According to the National Guard Bureau, the Joint Task Force-District of Columbia is established every four years to coordinate National Guard support to local and federal civilian authorities for the presidential inauguration.

National Guard support for presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when the forerunners of today's National Guard joined U.S. Army and Revolutionary War veterans to form an honor detail and escort Gen. George Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City from Mount Vernon, Virginia. At the time, the seat of government was in New York.

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