District of Columbia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen provided security, transportation and disaster response capabilities during the state funeral held at the Washington National Cathedral Dec. 5, 2018, for former President George H.W. Bush.
The D.C. National Guard joined many agencies, including the D.C. Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency, FBI, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the U.S. Park Police, to provide safety and security for people attending activities in and around the National Capital Region during the event.
“This joint mission is important because we provide unique force protection enhancements during the state funeral,” said LTC Malik Freeman, the D.C. Army National Guard 74th Troop Command deputy commander. “Vehicle operators are driving 5-ton cargo vehicles to provide enhanced mobile force protection assets to assist with motorcade operations. Our team has the opportunity to be a part of history by ensuring that the state funeral is safe and secure.”
As part of a governor escort mission, members of the D.C. Guard’s Multi-agency Augmentation Command (MAC) served as funeral escorts for 18 state governors who attended the state funeral.
According to MAJ Mark Ballantyne, operations officer and mission planner with the MAC, the governor escort mission is one of the national special security events the unit spends months preparing for to ensure its members are ready at a moment’s notice.
“The goal is to make it look like it was easy … because then that means we did our job right,” MAJ Ballantyne said. “This is the culmination of planning over 18 months in preparation for a state funeral for a president if and when it happens.”
Soldiers and Airmen from the D.C. National Guard’s 33rd Civil Support Team (CST) joined the Virginia National Guard’s 34th CST to support interagency teams throughout the District with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive detection and response capabilities as part of the force protection package.
BY SSG ANTHONY SMALL, D.C. NATIONAL GUARD