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National Guardsmen prepare to support law enforcement at 57th Presidential Inauguration

This news story was published on January 21, 2013.
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WASHINGTON – Flexibility is a key component for National Guard members assigned to the Joint Task Force District of Columbia during the 2013 Presidential Inauguration with many doing non-traditional jobs.

Soldiers and Airmen traveled from more than 30 states and territories to support local and federal law enforcement Monday. Their duties during the inauguration will vary from headquarters support to ensuring flow of traffic and facilitating a safe and enjoyable time for inaugural guests.

“I’m just excited to be here,” said Staff Sgt. Dominique Clerkley, 171st Air Refueling Wing boom operator. “I enjoy these joint ventures. They give me a chance to meet new people and work with different branches.”

Clerkley volunteered for this temporary duty and feels prepared for the tasks he’s expected to perform.

“We spent a day training in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We were taught what our tasks are, what our mission is and what’s expected of us.”

The Joint Task Force mission for the weekend is to augment law enforcement, so Americans can safely enjoy the inauguration activities.

Clerkley is one of 1,300 National Guardsmen from Pennsylvania who have been tasked to support the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

“Everyone arrived yesterday,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones, 55th Army Brigade public affairs specialist.

The guardsmen will spend their time prior to the inauguration preparing for the crowds to come. They’ll learn more about the support the law enforcement will need and they’ll spend time ensuring all their equipment is ready to go.

“It’s a big mission,” said Jones. “We can’t just show up. We need to prepare for this.”

The National Guard has a proud and storied involvement in Presidential Inaugurations dating back to April 30, 1789, when members of the National Guard, U.S. Army and revolutionary war veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony. In particular, 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.

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