More than 5,000 U.S. military men and women will participate in President Barack Obama's second inauguration Monday. The service members represent active duty, Guard and Reserve components of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
According to 1st Lt. Ashleigh Peck of the Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs Office, American military members have participated in every presidential inauguration since April 30, 1789. On that date Army soldiers, local militia units and Revolutionary War veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.
The purpose of military support for the presidential inauguration is to honor the Commander-in-Chief, recognize civilian control of the military and celebrate democracy. Air Force District of Washington Commander Maj. Gen. Sharon K.G. Dunbar said, "we'll have a large contingent of proud Airmen supporting inaugural events. Our U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard will join marching units comprised of active duty, Reserve and Guard Airmen from across the National Capital Region and the Air Force Academy."
Airmen will be doing more than marching and playing instruments. The logistical support and expertise they provide is essential to the inauguration being a success. "Hundreds more Total Force Airmen will be supporting myriad contingency, communication and command and control operations behind the scenes," Dunbar said. The major general also serves as the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) commander.
The 320th AEW is the Air Force Component Headquarters to Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR). The Department of Defense through U.S. Northern Command and its JTF-NCR will coordinate all U.S. military support during the 10-day inaugural period from Jan. 15 through Jan. 24.
"It has been a privilege to work with the great group of folks here at JTF-NCR, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guardsmen- who are all doing phenomenal work," said Air Force Reserve Brig Gen. James P. Scanlon. He is the JTF-NCR deputy commander for inaugural support.