By Staff Sgt. Christopher VannJanuary 9, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Soldiers and Airmen with the Florida National Guard were on hand to support Florida's 46th gubernatorial inauguration at the capitol building.
Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support, promising to lead the state for the next four years with a full heart, his best judgment and the courage of his convictions.
Gov. DeSantis gave his first speech to the troops as governor-elect at the Call to Action, which was geared towards honoring military, law enforcement and first responders. There, he expressed his gratitude to the Gold Star families in attendance.
Florida Guard senior leaders planned the event, prepared for contingencies and implemented procedures that proved valuable to the successful transition from Gov. Rick Scott to DeSantis with multiple events spanning three days.
"All major command elements participated in the coordination efforts spearheaded by the 83rd Troop Command," said Maj. Jorge Iturralde, S3 Operations Officer, 83rd Troop Command. "The participation from the other commands such as the 50th Regional Support Group, the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, including directorates like the Joint Directorate of Military Support, the State Quartermaster, the United States Property and Fiscal Office, as well as, the Public Affairs Office is what made this a successful event."
The 13th Army Band provided music for the Call to Action ceremony, the inauguration, and other official events throughout the year. U.S. Army Col. Richard Elam, Commander, 50th RSG, commended the band of their dedication to their craft.
"They are the epitome of professionals in the Army profession," said Elam. "They are quite adept at their mission."
Joining the band in their support of the inauguration events were soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment, who provided artillery support during the 19-gun salute that took place as soon as DeSantis took the oath of office. They utilized four Howitzer cannons that propelled bone-rattling wax rounds that echoed down Apalachee Parkway.
"It's an honor, not only for myself, but for my Soldiers," said 2nd Lt. Joseph Maher, the officer-in-charge of the 19-gun salute. "For some of them, it's their first time at the capitol."
After Gov. DeSantis swore in, four F-15 fighter jets from the Florida Air National Guard's 125th Fighter Wing conducted a flyover that signifies the change in the state's authority.
"I'm really proud of the Florida National Guard," said Brig. Gen. Brian Simpler, Assistant Adjutant General-Air. "It's really an honor to be here in support of this ceremony."
While the 83rd Troop Command handled the bulk of logistical movements and coordination for the Guard's support of the inauguration, Iturralde emphasized that it was a collaborative effort from the FLNG leadership.
"The support between the Army and Air and the true team effort was amazing," said Iturralde. "Great event overall, and we're glad to be a part of it."