By Tech. Sgt. Emily Alley
WASHINGTON - Soldiers from the Virgin Islands National Guard arrived Jan. 18 to join 6,000 Guardsmen in support the 57th presidential inauguration.
The 48 soldiers are scheduled to support security and traffic flow in the District of Columbia during the inauguration. The Guardsmen were deputized by an officer from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department in a mass swearing-in ceremony soon after arriving.
While Guardsmen from 31 states will be represented at the ceremony, the Virgin Islands is one of two territories also participating.
"We're not a state, but in the Virgin Islands patriotism is high," said Spc. Orville Osborne, from St. Croix, VI.
Osborne recognized the unique connection between the Virgin Islanders and D.C. Guardsmen, who also are not affiliated as a state. However, he believes it doesn't matter where they’re from since they wear the same uniform as the other Guardsmen who have come to assist with the event.
"We have the same stories, we joke about basic training," said Osborne.
The contribution of the citizen-soldiers is appreciated.
"D.C. is tiny," said Chief Master Sgt. Constantine Acostar, from the 113th Wing, a D.C. National Guardsman. "But consider the impact of this tiny little place when it swells with volunteers from around the country. The D.C. Guard can't do it alone."