WATCH: Alaska National Guard heads to DC ahead of inauguration
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Around 50 members of the Alaska Air and Army National Guard are heading to Washington D.C. to help with inauguration security. The volunteers from Fairbanks and Anchorage are being taken to D.C. on a KC-135 tanker from the 168th Wing in Fairbanks. Around five members of the Air National Guard stationed at Eielson Air Force Base flew on the tanker to pick up an approximately 40 members additional of the Army National Guard.
According to TSgt Adam Keele, who works in public affairs with the Alaska Air National Guard, the airmen and soldiers are going to augment the D.C. National Guard and federal agencies during the inauguration.
Keele, who volunteered, said this is his first time helping with an inauguration, but that this is what the National Guard is designed to do.
“It is an honor to just support the state of Alaska in anyway they can and really that’s what we do in the Air National Guard and the National Guard,” Keele said.
Colonel Kevin Clifford is the Vice Commander of the 168th Wing and said that they are going to be providing general support as needed. He said that anytime there are big events, from political conventions to Super Bowls and in this case the inauguration, members of the National Guard from all across the U.S. help with things like crowd and traffic control, security, medical support and communication.
Colonel Clifford said that members of the Guard are able to take their skills and apply them to help, “Being able to take those abilities through all states and territories and actually have our volunteers actually do this, I think it is extremely important. And they bring that capability to the civil authorities in D.C.”
The aircraft arrived in Anchorage on Sunday afternoon and loaded the additional members of the Guard. However, a mechanical issue delayed the flight to D.C. which was rescheduled to take off on Monday evening.
Keele said that normally missions like this last around a week but they are able to stay in D.C. for as long as they are needed.
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