News: Capital Guardians support the Capital’s 4th of July
WASHINGTON - In the sweltering heat of day, through the record mid-afternoon humidity, and until the festivities were over and the mission successfully completed just before midnight, the Capital Guardians of the District of Columbia National Guard were supporting the nation’s capital on the nation’s birthday.
For many Capitol Guardians, the day began early in the morning as the 257th Army Band prepared to march in America’s Independence Day parade. They were hot on the heels of another National Mall performance—the night before they had performed at the World War II memorial. As the parade was ending and the band was off to perform at Reston Town Center, another group of Capital Guardians was arriving.
A team of 51 Capital Guardians, all volunteers, manned various posts around the National Mall to provide security for the nation’s Independence Day fireworks show as the 33rd Civil Support Team worked on joint security operations in teams which included local police and FBI.
While some of the 51 volunteers patrolled 14th Street between Independence and Constitution Avenues, others helped the United States Park Police search attendees entering the fireworks viewing area. The 33rd Civil Support Team, which has specialized chemical, radiological nuclear detection equipment provided extra security. After the show, while attendees left the scene, the Capital Guardians remained to secure the site before an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team searched the area.
“Every single person here is a volunteer,” Capt. Scott Lewis, commander of the 273rd Military Police Company and officer in charge of the 4th of July mission, said. “They didn’t have to be here. This is an opportunity to work with the United States Park Police, to have family here, and to have a good view of the fireworks. Morale is high.”
The mission focused on supporting the Park Police, but when the need arose, the team was ready to respond to a medical emergency. When a visitor began suffering from heat-related injuries, she sought out the D.C. Guard. Spc. Kyra Davenport was the first to respond, and immediately found ice and water while getting paramedics to the scene.
Despite near record heat, oppressive humidity and slight changes to the mission caused by logistical concerns, many Capital Guardians said they enjoyed representing the District of Columbia National Guard at the annual celebration.
Several civilians approached the Capital Guardians throughout the day and night to express their appreciation for the D.C. National Guard and support for the military in general. Many requested and received photos with the closest person in uniform. Some who didn’t stop to talk offered a smile and a wave.
A boy, about five years old, approached Lewis and asked, “What’s it like to be in the July 4th mission army?”
“It’s pretty cool,” said a smiling Lewis.
“On days like this, we get a lot of ‘thank you’s and a lot of wanting to take pictures,” said Spc. Daniel Jones of the 104th Maintenance Company, as he cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for
the Capital Guardians and their family members on a partitioned section of The Mall. “We try to accommodate that as much as possible without delaying the mission.”
Sgt. Cory Boroff and Spc. Dwight McLaughlin, both of the 276th M.P. Company, were among those representing the DCNG on 14th Street. They mission was to be prepared to assist law enforcement with any issues and to provide comfort to the public by being visible.
At one entrance point to the fireworks viewing area, of the 275th M.P. Company, Spc. Patrick Bauer was one of several Capital Guardians searching attendees for weapons.
“It’s nice to be out in D.C., at the Capital, supporting my country, supporting local police,” Bauer said. “This is what we do. We support the community.”
Many of the volunteers had been activated the previous two days also in order to assist D.C. Metro Police with traffic control in the aftermath of the violent storms that left much of the area without electricity.
Date Posted:07.06.2012 10:57
Location:WASHINGTON, DC, US
Hometown:WASHINGTON, DC, US
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