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Alaska Guardsmen provide support for 58th Presidential Inauguration

Release Number: 17-001

Forty-seven Alaska Guardsmen departed here yesterday via an Alaska Air National Guard 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker bound for Washington, D.C.

The Guardsmen have joined forces with more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia to provide support to civil authorities for the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

Security forces personnel from the Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Wing at Eielson Air Force Base and the 176th Wing at JBER, joined military police from the Alaska Army National Guard's 297th Regional Support Group. The Soldiers and Airmen will provide security in support of local law enforcement to facilitate crowd management, direction and capacity near the National Mall during inauguration events.

Capt. Jason Walter, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 297th RSG, and the officer in charge of the Alaska joint task force, explained that this is the first time his troops have supported an inauguration and the level of excitement is unparalleled.

"We paired Army and Air Force security forces together for the mission and we are all looking forward to working together and with the other states and agencies," said Walter.

Walter compared the task force mission of assisting local law enforcement who are responsible for the safety and security of all personnel during inaugural events to the Citizen-Soldier mission in Alaska.

"For the military police, one of our mission tasks is to provide Defense Support to Civil Authorities," said Walter, who has been a military policeman for 10 years serving in both the enlisted and officer roles. "This is something that the MP Company continuously trains on. If there is a disaster in Alaska, we are always ready to respond."  

Guardsmen supporting the inauguration were sworn in as Special Police by the Metropolitan Police Department today at five different locations, including about 3,500 personnel at the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field and about 1,000 at a local high school football field, where Alaska Guardsmen swore in. They are all now part of Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, which is responsible for coordinating all National Guard support to local and federal civilian authorities for the presidential inauguration.

"It's a great responsibility to be here working with all of the civilian agencies involved," said Walker. "We are all really looking forward to interacting with the local populace, and local law enforcement has shared that they appreciate having all of the extra help for such a largescale event."

National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will provide a myriad of support to civil authorities during the inauguration, including security operations around the Capitol, National Mall and White House, in addition to transportation, communications, medical and logistical support, among other duties at the request of civil authorities.

Alaska National Guardsmen with the 103rd Civil Support Team and Joint Forces Headquarters Public Affairs Office are also in D.C. providing support during the inauguration.

National Guard cooperation with interagency partners is paramount to the success of the 2017 presidential inauguration. Historically, the National Guard has received requests for support from the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Service, D.C. Department of Transportation, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capital Police, U.S. Secret Service and the North American Airspace and Defense Command.

Military involvement in the Presidential Inauguration dates back to 1789, when members of the U.S. Army local militias--the modern-day National Guard--and revolutionary war veterans formed an honor detail to escort Gen. George Washington to his presidential inauguration ceremony.

Military support is designated to honor the commander-in-chief, recognize civilian control of the military and celebrate democracy. The National Guard supports every inauguration.

JTF-DC Public Affairs and Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead contributed to this press release.