The D.C. National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon, a new award created by the head of the District of Columbia National Guard and approved by the Army last year, recognizes National Guard troops from the District and any U.S. state or territory who supported President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Title 32 orders, DCNG wrote in a March 15 release.
Troops may wear the ribbon on their dress uniforms after state- and federal-level awards when they’re “not on federal Title 10 orders,” the release explained.
“The ribbon is to recognize the sacrifice of Guardsmen who leave their businesses, their families, their educations to come here and ensure the peaceful transition of presidential power,” said DCNG Commanding General Army Maj. Gen. William J. Walker in the release. “They’re part of a security apparatus in support of the U.S. Secret Service. For many, it’s a once-in-a-career opportunity, and I think this ribbon is befitting of their time, energy and effort to support democracy.”
Many states who sent troops to the National Capital Region following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection have long-standing histories of supporting inauguration security in D.C.
As of press time, though, Guard personnel who supported the 2021 inauguration were the only ones cleared to receive the award, the release stated.
However, in the release, Walker hinted at potential regulation changes that would greenlight Guard troops who supported past inaugurations to get it, too.
“We believe that it is fitting to award those Guardsmen,” Walker said in the release. “Any Guardsmen alive should be given this award in recognition of their service during the inaugural periods established by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. And it’s something they should look back on fondly for their participation in history.”
If such retroactive recognition is approved, Guard troops who’ve supported more than one inauguration will be able to indicate this service via “numeral devices,” it added.
The ribbon’s design incorporates both national and local symbolism, with its patriotically hued vertical bands representing the American flag, and its red stars against a white backdrop representing the D.C. flag, the release explained. The Army Institute of Heraldry gave the ribbon the official go-ahead late last year, it added.
The award also pays homage to the Guard’s legacy of securing presidential inaugurations dating back to the swearing-in of America’s first President, the release stated.
“The National Guard has been involved with the inauguration of [the U.S.] President since George Washington, when militia groups escorted him to New York for his first inauguration,” said DCNG Senior Enlisted Leader Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael F. Brooks in the release. “The D.C. National Guard’s specific history with the inauguration starts in 1861, with the inauguration of President Lincoln, where there were credible threats to the [President-elect], so the D.C. National Guard escorted him to the Capitol. And the reason why that’s important is our primary role is not ceremonial, it is to provide security, and it has been since 1861.”
Military.com broke news of the award on March 5.
“In recognition of their service as part of the security mission at the U.S. Capitol and other facilities in Washington, D.C., before, during and after the 59th Presidential Inauguration, the District of Columbia National Guard plans to present all Soldiers and Airmen who took part in the mission one or both of the following decorations: the District of Columbia National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon and/or the District of Columbia Emergency Service Ribbon,” Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver, spokesman for the Virginia Air National Guard and director of Joint Task Force-DC Joint Information Center, said in a statement provided to Military.com. “Both ribbons are District-level decorations. Plans for their presentation are not yet final. Other federal decorations are also being considered.”
And while civilian Guard personnel who backed up this year’s festivities can’t wear military ribbons, they may receive the same recognition in the form of a certificate, the release noted.