In keeping with a tradition going back to the first presidential inauguration, the Pennsylvania National Guard will send a team to Washington, D.C. this weekend. About 1,300 soldiers and airmen will help with security, managing crowds, and directing traffic during President Obama’s second inauguration.
The team reported to Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County Wednesday and will leave for Washington Friday morning. They’ll do a “dry run” over the weekend and then set up traffic control points on Sunday night before the inauguration ceremony begins Monday morning.
Guard spokesman Sergeant Matt Jones said some will stay at Andrews Air Force Base, and the rest will stay at a school that was closed down a few months ago — it’s not a glamorous assignment, but it’s also not quite a hardship post.
“The members of the National Guard who are going down there, the vast majority of them have been deployed overseas or have been deployed during war,” said Jones. “So this is certainly not the worst thing they’ve done by any means. It’s actually an honor.”
The 55th Heavy Brigade based in Scranton is leading Pennsylvania’s team, supplemented by soldiers and airmen from across the state. They’ll be joined in Washington, D.C. by more than 6,000 National Guard members from several other states.