GA Air Guard supports 58th Presidential Inauguration

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Roger Paarsons
  • 116th Air Control Wing

A group of mostly young first-term Airmen from the Georgia Air National Guard showcased their culinary skills on a national scale supporting the 58th Presidential Inauguration of Donald J. Trump.

Ten Airmen from the 116th Air Control Wing deployed from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia to Washington D.C. with their Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer, or DRMKT, in tow. FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, became their home and base of operations where they joined five other Air National Guard units collectively feeding about 4,000 joint-forces personnel daily from three mobile kitchens.

“This is my first inauguration and my first time cooking with the DRMKT,” said Senior Airman Charles Borre from the 116th Services Flight. “The training was great for our state mission so if I ever have to respond to an emergency I’ll be able to jump right in and be better prepared. It was also neat to support an inauguration, something that goes back to 1789.”

According to Borre, a former Marine, the joint-force aspect of this mission held a special significance.

“We all have a U.S. on our uniforms so it’s good to be able to support our brothers and sisters in the other services,” said Borre.

In total, more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, served with the specially created Joint Task Force – District of Columbia. As a whole, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen augmented the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces on a range of support including traffic control, crowd management, logistics and communication.

“This is my second inauguration and the first one with our Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer,” said MSgt Patrick McMahon, superintendent of the 116th Services Flight. “Serving nearly 4,000 people during extended meal periods was quite a feat especially since our team was made up of mostly younger Airmen with no previous experience at an event like this.”

The freestanding mobile kitchen, similar to a concession trailer you would see at many public events, is designed for fast setup and teardown and provides Airmen the capability to feed about a 1,000 people a hot meal in less than 90 minutes.

Another first for the team was joining forces with other Air National Guard services units from across the nation.

“We cooked with three other units who brought two DRMKTs to the event,” shared McMahon. “At the last inauguration we were at a location by ourselves. This operation provided great experience working with our counterparts as a cohesive team.”

“I learned a lot of things and made a lot of new friends,” shared Airman 1st Class Kayla Akers from the 116th Services Flight. “I’ve been to D.C. a number of times but being a part of this inauguration is a huge honor.”

Accompanying the team for the first time as the officer in charge was 2nd Lt. Matthew Nama.

“It’s great to see our Airmen on the front lines,” said Nama. “I’ve learned what it takes to put together a large-scale operation like this especially when you have different forces combined. It’s been a great opportunity to see what kind of equipment we have and experience it in actual use for my first time.”

The 116th Services Flight is the services arm of the 116th Air Control Wing JSTARS flying operation. The world’s only E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, solely based out of Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, performs command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over land and water for Combatant Commanders around the globe.