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NEWS | Jan. 24, 2013

'Resolute Warriors' move the 57th Presidential Inauguration

By Sgt. Edwin J. Rodriguez 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

Since 1789, there have been 57 Presidential Inaugurations, all of which held a U.S. military presence. The 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama provided a rare opportunity to honor the commander-in-chief for the Soldiers of the "Siegesrader" battalion, the 53rd Movement Control Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade.

It was new territory for the unit, but they accepted mission with honor and a true sense of duty.

The battalion, traditionally known for its ability to coordinate the movement of goods and personnel by land, air and sea, was called to the nation's capital to plan, coordinate and synchronize the inaugural parade in support of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, according to Maj. Clarisse Scott, Joint Task Force - National Capital Region joint team parade officer in charge, and a member of the 53rd MCB.

The task force was comprised of roughly 200 Service members authorized by the Secretary of Defense to support the committee. JTF-NCR tasked an additional 5,000 Service members from all branches of the armed forces, including active duty, Reservists and National Guardsmen, to help with parade organization, barricading the streets along the parade route, performing ceremonial music and participating in the color guard.

The 53rd MCB's role was to ensure event participants were processed at a separate location outside the National Mall, before transported to the parade route to be lined up properly on Inauguration day.

Scott said when JTP arrived, they hit the ground running - using data from previous inaugurations.

"I've been able to put the training I received overseas, coordinating large scale operations, to good use when planning this inaugural parade," she said.

The Soldiers assigned to "Siegesrader" battalion did not take this opportunity lightly.

"I feel very proud and excited to be here. I have an important job guiding people to their proper places," said Spc. Francisco Rodriguez, a JTP entry control point sentry at the parade staging area near the Pentagon. "If media arrives, I send them to the proper area; if parade participants arrive, I send them to the assigned staging area."

"We have a job to do so we have to go out and do it. It is a pleasure and an honor serving the president in this capacity," said Staff Sgt. Marcus Virgil, JTP route control noncommissioned officer in charge.

Officials said more than one million people came to the National Mall where the inauguration and parade took place.

"I take this seriously because it is the 57th Presidential Inauguration," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Woodard Jr., JTP parade route screening NCOIC.

Woodard ensured parade participants were able to get to and from the parade route in accordance with the established parade float timeline. "A lot of people will not get the chance to experience this so I want to do my best. I am glad to be here."

Before the ceremony, the JTF-NCR conducted a full-scale dress rehearsal on the streets of Washington. The streets were closed off from 4 a.m. until late afternoon on Inauguration day. Soldiers were up as early at 2 a.m. helping to set up barriers, signs and other necessities for both the rehearsal and the actual event.

On Inauguration day, JTP cordoned off the streets well before 9:30 a.m. At the parade staging area, buses arrived and were screened by the Secret Service and escorted to their proper position within the parade. Service members, some assigned to the 53rd MCB, led the 10,000-person parade as part of the Presidential Escort from the Capitol to the White House. At the end, the team ushered the participants on to the buses and to their destination near the National Mall.

"I can't imagine standing out there in a street for six or seven hours. I can definitely empathize with those guys and gals out there," said one pedestrian about the Service members along the parade route.