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Press Release
January 16, 2009
Four soldiers and two airmen from the Oregon National Guard will support President Barack Obama's inauguration activities in Washington D.C. next week.

The six public affairs specialists will help tell the story of how National Guard members from across the country are providing security and logistical support for what may be the largest inauguration ceremony in U.S. history.

More than 9,000 National Guardsmen and women will support the 56th Presidential Inauguration, the Guard's largest contribution to an inauguration in its history.

"The National Guard will help to ensure a safe and secure environment for all attendees," said Manny Pacheco, spokesperson for the National Guard Bureau. "National Guard members are a force multiplier to a variety of federal and state agencies and military task forces."

National Guard members from several different states and the District of Columbia are working for Joint Task Force-District of Columbia. Citizen-Soldiers and –Airmen are providing communications, transport, traffic control and medical and logistical support – as well as playing music and marching in the inaugural parade.

"Those National Guard personnel will help quite a bit," Cathy Lanier, the District of Columbia's police chief, said last week. "[They] help us … keep law enforcement focused on law enforcement."

The Guard's support to civilian authorities works well because relationships are already well-established through previous events and shared training exercises.

"They know that we will be there and that we will perform professionally, no matter what the situation," Brig. Gen. Barbaranette Bolden, commander, Joint Task Force-District of Columbia said.

The National Guard Bureau participates in Armed Forces Inaugural Committee efforts while coordinating the support provided by the National Guard with federal and state civil authorities. A joint operations center is being staffed around the clock through the inauguration.

The National Guard has a long history of supporting presidential inaugurations. Local militia units marched with George Washington as he proceeded to his first inauguration on April 30, 1789, according to Guard historians.

"The National Guard is proud to continue this tradition of supporting and defending both the president of the United States, our constitutional form of government, and our American way of life," Pacheco said.

Guardmembers are proud of their role helping ensure a safe and secure environment for the event, Bolden said.

"Every soldier and airman that comes here will be sharing this historic event with their families for many years to come," Bolden said.

The troops from the Oregon National Guard include:

- Capt. Mike Odle from the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls; residing in Montana

- Master Sgt. Tom Hovie from the Joint Force Headquarters in Salem, resident of Salem

- Sgt. Patrick Lair from the 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Salem, resident of Sweet Home

- Sgt. Eric Rutherford from the JFHQ in Salem, resident of Turner

- Staff Sgt. John Hughel 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, resident of Portland
Contact Info:
Maj. Michael Braibish