Approximately 340 Soldiers and Airmen from the Florida National Guard supported the 58th Presidential Inauguration this week in Washington, D.C.
Florida National Guardsmen led Task Force Crowd, comprised of eight states’ National Guard forces, in assisting the local and federal civilian agencies in Washington, D.C.
“We are the eyes and ears of the U.S. Park Police and civil authorities that are out there,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Edson Kline, Joint Task Force Florida/Task Force Crowd Commander and 779th Engineer Battalion Commander.
Florida Guardsmen also played a significant role in Task Force Cyber, protecting the various communications networks from cyber threats.
“Cyber security is an ever growing concern within the military services, as well as our government. Cyber warfare is a very real threat and we must be ready to meet that threat and safeguard our democracy,” said DCO Team Chief, Maj. Jennifer Hunt. “The Florida Army National Guard is honored to play a role in the Presidential Inauguration and for the opportunity to serve on the forefront of cyber defense operations for our nation.”
In total, more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia will serve with the specially created Joint Task Force – District of Columbia. The District of Columbia National Guard created JTF – DC in response to requests for assistance from local and federal agencies in the National Capital Region. As a whole, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will augment the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces on a range of support, including traffic control, crowd management, logistics and communication.
National Guard support to presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when local militia members (today’s National Guard) joined the 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, Va. Over the years, National Guard involvement has grown and is designated to honor the commander-in-chief, recognize civilian control of the military, and celebrate democracy.