Capital Guardians support city during opening of new national museum
By Gigail CuretonOctober 17, 2016
WASHINGTON - Living up to their slogan 'Always Ready, Always There,' more than 100 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the District of Columbia National Guard provided traffic control and crowd management support during the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24.
According to Army Capt. Tamara Tomlinson, Task Force commander, the primary goal of the mission was to support local transportation and federal law enforcement agencies by giving them additional personnel resources to ensure a safe environment for the thousands of visitors on the National Mall.
For some Capital Guardians, missions like this are nothing new. For others, like 2nd Lt. Ernest Pharr, 547th Transportation Company, being in charge of a crowd management element was a new experience.
"This gave me a good opportunity to understanding the planning and execution of a mission like this such as coordination and interaction with other agencies," Pharr said. "There are a lot of moving parts but my NCOs stepped up and I am proud of the team effort."
While the mission involved mainly traffic and crowd duties, Soldiers and Airmen didn't hesitate to provide support in a variety of ways. They arrived on the National Mall in the pre-dawn hours to barricades that had to be erected. They spent hours giving directions to lost visitors. In a couple of instances, they assisted with getting elderly visitors in wheelchairs over obstacles and to their final destination in time to watch the ceremony. They also awkwardly acknowledged the chorus of "thanks for your service" greetings from passersby.
"We are here to provide support and help were needed," said Spc. Timothy Robinson, 547th Transportation Company.
Brig. Gen. Renwick L. Payne, The Adjutant General, District of Columbia National Guard, reminded the troops of who they are and what they represent before the convoy of busses and tactical vehicles left the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling motor pool. "You represent our public, you represent our country. They are going to see you today and they are going to know who you are," Payne said during his 3:30 a.m. pep talk.
"Our Soldiers and Airman executed their responsibilities very well," said Tomlinson. "I was honored to have been asked to lead this mission. Selfless service--that is what we do."