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180th Members Cover Inauguration

March 2009 -- Witnessing the Inauguration of our nation's first African- American President is an honor in and of itself, but being a part of that event and serving your country at the same time would be a once-in a lifetime opportunity. 

That opportunity came to fruition for 2nd Lt. Tiffany Pasker, Public Affairs Officer, and Senior Airman Jodi Leininger, Public Affairs, who were in Washington D.C. in January to document the military participation of the inauguration with photography and journalism. 

Pasker and Leininger were two of only three Ohio National Guard members from Public Affairs to participate in the event, joining about 10,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen there to provide a wide variety of duties at President Barack Obama's inauguration. 

Leininger participated in a 34-day tour in which she photographed the military function for the Armed Forces Inauguration Committee and its activities before, during and after the event. She captured the honor guards and military band members preparing for the parade, servicemembers setting up the parade route and constructing command posts in preparation for the hundreds of thousands of guests that would flood the D.C. area. 

"It was so amazing to be a part of history," said Leininger. "You could see the enthusiasm on everyone's faces. It's hard to describe the energy of the crowd and the day - it was wonderful." 

Leininger was most impressed with how smoothly the event went, and how all branches of service came together to make the day a success. 

"It did not matter if you were active duty, guard or reserve," said Leininger. "We all just completed the mission as a team." 

Pasker was in Washington D.C. for one week as a Public Affairs Officer, who was there to document the guard's participation in the inaugural events. In addition to her responsibilities as a PAO, Pasker was also sworn in as a part of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. 

"Upon my arrival, I found out that I would also be assisting local law enforcement authorities ensuring all participants could have a safe and enjoyable time while attending the inauguration" said Pasker. 

And help keep the day secure, she did, as she helped a lost little boy from Warren, Ohio,
who had gotten separated from his school group, return to safety. He approached her group because they were in uniform, Pasker said, and she was grateful to be able to rectify the situation. 

Over all, Inauguration Day, 2009, will be a day that Pasker and Leininger will not soon forget. 

"It was a wonderful experience," said Pasker. "I felt privileged to be able to work with such great people. It was an honor to be a part of it."

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