Pa. National Guard contingent on D.C. inaugural duty

    In keeping with a tradition going back to the first presidential inauguration, the Pennsylvania National Guard is sending a team of soldiers and airmen to Washington, D.C.

    Helping with security and directing crowds, about 1,300 members of the state’s National Guard will be on hand for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

    Guard spokesman Sgt. Matt Jones says some will stay at Andrews Air Force Base, and the rest will stay at a school that was closed down a few months ago.

    Jones says it’s not a hardship post, but it’s not exactly a glamorous assignment.

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    “The members of the National Guard who are going down there, the vast majority of them have been deployed overseas or have been deployed during war. So this is certainly not the worst thing they’ve done by any means,” he said. “It’s actually an honor.”

    Jones adds that the schedule includes doing a “dry run” over the weekend and then setting up traffic-control points Sunday night before the inauguration ceremony begins Monday morning.

    The commonwealth’s team joins more than 6,000 National Guard members from several other states who are assigned to help out with the inaugural events.

    Sending National Guard contingents to the presidential inauguration is a tradition stretching back to the George Washington’s first swearing-in ceremony.

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