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Thousands of PA National Guardsmen support inauguration

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Susan Penning
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
About 2,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across the Commonwealth assembled Jan. 18-21 to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration. About 1,000 of these troops headed to Washington, D.C., to perform several critical inaugural missions, including crowd management, traffic control, civil disturbance response and communication and ceremonial duties. The rest remained on standby at various locations, with the ability to provide swift emergency response and aviation lift support as needed.
"The Soldiers and Airmen of the Pennsylvania National Guard consider it an honor to be a part of this historic event and will continue the long tradition of providing militia support to the president and our nation during each presidential inauguration," said Col. Sam Hayes, Director of Domestic Operations, PANG.

These Army and Air National Guardsmen added to the approximately 7,500 troops from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia that supported the inaugural mission. They served on Joint Task Force D.C., a task force specifically created in response to requests for assistance from local and federal agencies in the National Capital Region. The troops augmented the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces.  
Executing such a large-scale mission required extensive coordination and planning from many Air and Army National Guard units and included several different job specializations, such as medical, logistics, security forces and services.

"Our group is made up of highly trained, highly motivated medical professionals with the mission of saving lives and mitigating pain and suffering," said Air National Guard Lt. Col. Richard Lorraine, 193rd Special Operations Medical Group Detachment 1 commander. Lorraine's unit, which remained on standby during the inauguration, provides life support, medical treatment and transport in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

"I've been involved in this mission for 10 years. It's why I joined the military," said Lorraine, a private practice physician in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. "I wanted to be able to do more with my training."

"We have to consolidate folks from all over the state," said Army National Guard Capt. Johnny Perez, 876th Engineer Battalion Bravo Company commander in Spring City, Pennsylvania. "We always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. These are civilians who have to leave their families, their jobs. It requires an enormous time effort, but they're all happy to volunteer their service to their state and country. We're all very proud."

PANG support at presidential inaugurations dates back to April 30, 1789, when local militia members - known today as the Pennsylvania National Guard - joined the U.S. Army and revolutionary war veterans to form an honor detail to escort Gen. George Washington from Philadelphia to his inauguration ceremony in New York City.