D.C. Airmen protect Nation's capital at Veterans Day concert
By Capt. Renee Lee , 113th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 19, 2014
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Nearly 100 Airmen of the D.C. Air National Guard spent their Veterans Day volunteering in support of the District of Columbia's security measures for HBO's Concert for Valor Nov. 11.
"There's nothing else I'd rather do on Veterans Day than to help out," said Airman 1st Class Cayla Clark. "This is what we signed up for, even if we have to volunteer for events. The concert is a huge event and I want to be a part of it."
Airmen of the 113th Wing routinely augment the District's law enforcement agencies in support of large-scale national events, including July 4th festivities and presidential inaugurations.
As in previous supported missions, the Airmen took an oath that granted them special authority to oversee crowd management. Wearing special police badges on their uniforms, the Airmen's mission for that day was to serve as the eyes and ears for the city's law enforcement, said Airman 1st Class Ariana Smith.
"We're providing manpower and security," said Tech. Sgt. Allan Martinez. "We're prepared to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities."
After taking the oath, administered by the Metropolitan Police Department, the 75-strong team dispersed across several blocks around the north end of the National Mall. Soldiers of the D.C. Army National Guard also provided support in the form of traffic control at intersections and subway stations. Combined, the D.C. National Guard helped an interagency team comprised of 37 civilian and military agencies in anticipation of 800,000 concert attendees.
While Veterans Day was a treat for many Americans, for the 75 Airmen, it was an opportunity to support military veterans past and present, Senior Master Sgt. William Burks said.
"I'm here to support the men and women who have served before me and show appreciation for our veterans."