2009 Presidential Inauguration Support
More than 500 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be on duty throughout the Commonwealth and in the District of Columbia supporting the 56th Presidential Inauguration. This page will feature stories, photos and video of these Soldiers as they perform these missions.

Virginia Defense Force assists with Virginia Guard support missions at Inauguration

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Defense Force augmented the Virginia National Guard in support of the inauguration of a United States President during the 56th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.

The presidential inauguration attracted well over two million attendees, greatly taxing the infrastructure and support facilities of local municipalities. National Guard troops were called from several states to conduct various missions around the D.C. Metro area to assist in providing order and security.  As the Virginia National Guard prepared for its role in the event, a mission arose well suited for the skills of the Virginia Defense Force. 

Capitalizing on new levels of training and integration within the VDF, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, directed that elements of the VDF be placed on State Active Duty for transport escort duty and to assist in command and control and communications missions at the Joint Forces Joint Operations Center and with the 91st Troop Command.

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Posted Jan. 29, 2009

Winchester unit responds to inauguration call

Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 116th BCT on inaugural dutyRICHMOND, Va. — Approximately 400 Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team and the Fredericksburg- based F Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion were called to duty in support of the Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters Company established a tactical operations center at the Warrenton Armory in Fauquier County. Meanwhile A, B, C, and D companies were staged at various locations throughout the Northern Virginia area to support a possible evacuation of the D.C. area. F Company, 429th BSB provided vehicle maintenance and recovery for the other units.

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Posted Jan. 29, 2009

Virginia CERF quietly on call during inauguration

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The presence of Soldiers and Airmen of the National Guard was highly visible during the 56th Presidential Inauguration, but a very key player from Virginia was most likely never even noticed.

The Virginia National Guard deployed over 200 Soldiers and Airmen to Fort Belvoir to stand by in case of a catastrophic attack during the inauguration festivities. The servicemembers, who are a part of a joint unit referred to as a CERF, which stands for Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high yield explosive Enhanced Response Force, were on standby during the events in the D.C. area.

In the event of an attack on the nation’s capital the CERF was on stand-by to support any request for a CBRNE event. “If called we could be asked to support Urban Search and Extraction, provid mass casualty decontamination, and medical triage,” said Maj. Preston Scott, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment.

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Posted Jan. 29, 2009

34th CST defends Nation’s Capital at inauguration

WASHINGTON — Virginia Guardsmen of the 34th Civil Support Team deployed to the nation’s capital in support of the 56th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 18-21 as a part of the approximately 100-person Task Force CBRN.

During the four-day operation the 16 Soldiers and two Airmen of the 34th CST accompanied CSTs from D.C. and Maryland to provide civil support in case of a chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear or high yield explosive attack to the inauguration and events around the city.

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Posted Jan. 28, 2009

Cavalry Soldiers called on for inaugural support

2-183rd Cav Soldiers mount up PORTSMOUTH, Va — Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment mobilized in support of the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.

The squadron fell into its ranks at the Portsmouth Armory early on the Jan. 19. The Soldiers were ready to move out toward Washington, D.C., shortly after that formation.

Under the command of Capt. Brett Gibson, Bravo Troop took on the role of a Quick Reaction Force and staged at the Fredericksburg Armory, prepared to move anywhere in the Washington, D.C., Metro area they might be needed.

Under the command of 1st Lt. Brian Gallavan, Alpha Troop also held the role of a Quick Reaction Force and staged at Fort A. P. Hill.

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Posted Jan. 28, 2009

Saving lives purpose of JTF 29 and Operation Valiant Shepherd

JTF-29FORT BELVOIR, Va. — “JTF-29’s mission will be to ‘save lives now,’ if we’re called,” said Lt. Col. John Epperly of Operation Valiant Shepherd. Epperly is the chief operations officer of the 29th Infantry Division of the Virginia National Guard.

Being prepared to “save lives now,” is the reason Joint Task Force 29, a collection of National Guard units from 16 states, mobilized into forward-support positions prior to the 56th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.  JTF-29 represents the latest transformation of National Guard assets in its 372 year history.

“To ensure a safe and secure inauguration, we have worked in concert with authorities from the National Capital Region, the governors of Maryland and Virginia, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., working through Emergency Management Assistance Compacts with all the supporting states,” said Epperly. “We’ve based it on the lessons learned in Hurricane Katrina, when both the states of Mississippi and Louisiana had very large percentages of their National Guard troops deployed overseas on combat missions and help from around the region was needed. The 38th Division of the Indiana National Guard went to Mississippi and the 36th Division from Texas went to help in Louisiana.”

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Posted Jan. 22, 2009

Virginia Guard Soldiers assist with Inauguration Parade checkpoints

Inauguration CheckpointWASHINGTON, D.C. — As spectators attending the Inauguration Parade enter security checkpoints on Pennsylvania Avenue, the first people they see are Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard. Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team are assisting the Secret Service with the operation of security checkpoints by beginning the initial screening process and helping keep count of people as they enter the parade route area.

After waking hours before sunrise, the Soldiers were in place by 5:30 a.m. Jan. 20 in preparation for the gates opening at approximately 8 a.m. Some parade attendees had arrived as early as 2 a.m. in freezing temperatures to be first in line at the checkpoint.

“I am very pleased to have the Virginia National Guard here,” said Bill Chamberlin, the Secret Service agent serving as the supervisor for the checkpoint being staffed by the Virginia Guard. “The are very professional, and I love having uniformed personnel here working with us. The public responds to the presence of military uniformed personnel in a very positive way, so their presence alone is a great benefit to us.”

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Posted Jan. 20, 2009

Virginia Guard Soldiers being sworn in for inaugural support
Virginia Guard Soldiers being sworn in for inaugural support
Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team are sworn in as District of Columbia special police Jan. 18 at the National Guard Armory in Washington D.C. Approximately 275 Soldiers from 1st Battalion are in National Capital Region to assist the DC National Guard with their mission supporting federal and local authorities with security operations. More than 9,400 National Guard personnel from 25 states and territories are working for Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, providing communications, transportation, traffic control, medical and logistical support - as well as marching in the Inaugural parade. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)
Virginia Guard Soldiers being sworn in for inaugural support
Airmen from the Services Flight of the New Jersey National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing and the Rhode Island National Guard's 143rd Air Wing provide a hot meal for Virginia National Guard Soldiers Jan. 18 in the National Capital Region. About 18 Airmen from the two units are working together for the first time to provide hot meals for more than 500 Soldiers and Airmen in one of the many staging areas for National Guard personnel supporting the Presidential Inauguration. More than 9,400 National Guard personnel from 25 states and territories are working for Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, providing communications, transportation, traffic control, medical and logistical support - as well as marching in the Inaugural parade. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard to support 56th Presidential Inauguration

RICHMOND, Va. — More than 500 Virginia National Guard Soldiers will be on duty supporting the 56th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20 by assisting federal, state and local agencies with security, communications, traffic control and other general support requirements.

“Virginia has been working on plans to assist with a major event in the National Capital Region for the last three years,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, the adjutant general of Virginia. “This is going to be a complex multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional operation, but I am confident that our planning efforts with our partner state agencies as well as local authorities and the Department of Defense will pay off when we put our Soldiers and Airmen on the ground in support of the Inauguration.”

Approximately 250 Soldiers of the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team will gather at Fort Pickett and then head north to assist the DC National Guard with their mission supporting the Secret Service and National Park Police with security operations. Other Virginia Guard units will be stationed in various locations across the state for support and contingency operations. Soldiers and Airmen supporting the Inauguration come from all over Virginia.

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Posted Jan. 15, 2009

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