Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen were personally thanked for their participation in the 57th Presidential Inauguration by Joint Task Force - National Capital Region commanding general Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington during an awards ceremony at Fort Lesley J. McNair Monday, Jan. 28.

"The Inauguration Day parade is the largest, most complicated event that takes place in the nation's capital, which requires a multitude of mission partners to work together," said Linnington during an interview prior to the inauguration. "The role of the military in this event is one of support. We are here to support the Presidential Inauguration Committee, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and the other civilian agencies."

This is the first of three scheduled ceremonies that acknowledge the long hours and time away from their home installations, which military members spent providing DoD support during the inauguration.

"Being part of the 57th Presidential Inauguration was a great experience," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Blaise J. Aberle, JTF Special Events. "The coordination and communication between the different services was challenging but also very rewarding."

"Helping to support the 57th Presidential Inauguration as well as working on a Joint Staff for the first time is something I will always remember," said Marine Major Samuel C. Cunningham, JTF Exercise Branch and Joint Operations Command Battle Captain.

Traditionally, military units from each of the five branches have marched in the presidential escort and in the Inaugural Parade. This support comprises musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons, which render appropriate ceremonial honors to the commander in chief. More than 2,100 military personnel marched in the parade, with approximately 5,000 service members supporting the inauguration overall.

"Meeting President Obama at the Switzer building was amazing," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shannon D. Carter, JTF Special Events and Protocol. "I will remember this forever."