About 150 members of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard will provide support during the presidential inauguration in Washington on Friday.
They left from Flowood on Wednesday, officials said.
The soldiers and airmen will assist with traffic control, crowd management, communications, public affairs and chaplain support operations. Officials estimate between 800,000 and 900,000 supporters and protesters will be present Friday as President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office.
“It is an honor to be not only an observer but a participant in the inauguration of the president because it celebrates the smooth transition of power from one administration to the other and it is what we are at the core of a democracy,” said Director of Military Support Lt. Col. Jody M. Smith.
This is at least the third inauguration the Mississippi National Guard has participated in and officials got the request from the Washington National Guard for assistance in March.
The group heading to D.C. is comprised of soldiers from Canton’s 112th Military Police Battalion, Brandon’s 113th Military Police Company and Clinton’s 114th Military Police Company and airmen from Flowood’s 172nd Airlift Wing and Meridian’s 186th Air Refueling Wing.
In total, there will be more than 7,500 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia providing inauguration support.
“We’re an active participant and it’s an honor to be part of such a historic event as a presidential inauguration,” Smith said. “These guys are actually participating in the democracy we celebrate every four years.”