Obama inauguration 2013: National Guard called in to help D.C. cops
With just three days remaining until President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term in office, a huge contingent of National Guard soldiers and airmen from 31 states and territories descended on the District of Columbia on Friday to lend a helping hand.
A force of 6,000 members of the Guard are on a unique and special mission, they say - they've been called up to support the District's National Guard during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
The help from this group will be widespread throughout the National Mall on Inauguration Day. They'll help with everything from traffic control to medical assistance. Many of them, in fact, held similar duties four years ago during President Obama's first inauguration.
"We have (a) specific post where we need to be," Pennsylvania National Guardsman Maj. William Start said. "(We'll) enjoy it knowing we are doing our job."
The process of training, albeit brief, includes their swearing-in and designation ad special officers for the Metropolitan Police Department. The influx of assistance will triple its size for the week.
It's by far not the first time the Guard has been called up to help on Inauguration Day, either. They have been a part of every ceremony since 1861, when President Abraham Lincoln received his first salute from a D.C. Guardsman.
"Most of the personnel here were here last time," D.C. National Guard Maj. Gen. Errol Shwartz said. "They know the city very well."