By Staff Sgt. Wesley FarnsworthDecember 17, 2012
WASHINGTON -- The Joint Task Force -- National Capital Region, in conjunction with the D.C. National Guard, hosted a rehearsal of concept map exercise for members of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Joint Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies, and other interagency partners at the D.C. Armory, Dec. 12, 2012.
The map exercise showcased the culmination of months of planning and preparation for the Inauguration period to all agencies supporting the 57th Presidential Inauguration, scheduled to take place Jan. 21, 2013, specifically the parade.
The exercise featured a 40-by-60 foot floor map, complete with three-dimensional buildings and markings, allowing each agency to answer questions and discuss their plans for personnel placement and movement of military assets, marching units and other logistical requirements along the parade route.
The 2013 Presidential Inauguration "…represents the strength of our nation and the strength of our democracy. [The Inauguration day parade] is the largest, most complicated event that takes place in the nation's capital, and we do it right," said Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, JTF-- NCR commanding general, a Cape May, New Jersey native. "The role of the military in this event is one of support," Linnington said. "We are here to support the Presidential Inauguration Committee and the other civilian agencies."
The U.S. Armed Forces have participated in the inauguration of the president of the United States since April 30, 1789, when members of the U.S. Army, local militia units and Revolutionary War veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.
More than 220 years later, the participation of the armed forces continues as a way to honor the Commander In Chief, recognize civilian control of the armed forces and celebrate democracy.
JTF -- NCR has brought in more than 300 military personnel in support of the inaugural planning process, with approximately 5,000 additional service members slated for inauguration day. The total force will participate in various ceremonial roles including musical units, colors guards and cordons Linnington added.
It is expected that the cordon will comprise of approximately 1,500 individuals from all branches of the military who will line the parade route and render the proper customs and courtesies as the President passes, said U.S. Coast Guard, Lt. Cdr. Michelle Watson, a Vancouver, Wash., native, the deputy commander of the cordon unit.
"The exercise today allows us to present the plans that we've developed to the other agencies and get any feedback they have," said Watson.