WASHINGTON D.C. (WAFB) - More than 170 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard's 773rd Military Police Battalion have left the state to serve with the specially created Joint Task Force-District of Columbia to support the 58th presidential inauguration.
The 773rd will conduct security operations along the 1.5-mile parade route.
This is the first time the battalion will support any presidential inauguration. Soldiers from the 773rd will work with other National Guard units from South Dakota and Kansas to help ensure the route is safe.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be selected to perform this mission on the world stage for the biggest event in the country - the presidential inauguration," said Lt. Col. Richard Douget, commander of the 773rd. "It's a great thing that we get to experience and bring the experience with us throughout our careers. It's something we can look back on and build off of."
More than 7,500 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 44 states, 3 territories and the District of Columbia make up the Joint Task Force. National Guard soldiers and airmen will augment the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police with support for traffic control, crowd management, logistics and communication.
"It means quite a bit to me, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to defend the president in any way, shape, or form," said Spc. Trevor Radley, a Walker native with the 239th MP Company, 773rd.
The National Guard has been supporting presidential inaugurations since 1789, when local militia members joined the U.S. Army and Revolutionary War veterans to form an honor detail and escort Gen. George Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City from Mount Vernon, Va.