We don’t know that there was any threat that necessitated over 25,000 National Guard troops being in Washington, D.C., for Joseph Robinette Biden’s inauguration. We don’t know if there’s any threat that necessitates thousands of those troops being there now — or that any threat might exist in the near future that requires their presence in the nation’s capital.
But they get a cool ribbon for being there!
According to American Military News, those who served in the District of Columbia over the past few weeks will get either the District of Columbia National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon or the District of Columbia Emergency Service Ribbon. In some cases, individuals could get both.
The Emergency Service Ribbon has already existed for those who serve in a time of crisis or an emergency that doesn’t have to do with war.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon exists specifically for those who were in the District of Columbia for the inauguration.
The two ribbons that National Guard troops could receive are the District of Columbia National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon or the District of Columbia Emergency Service Ribbon. https://t.co/CuvNZDRtpR
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) March 6, 2021
The Inauguration Support Ribbon features the Washington, D.C., flag, with three red stars on a white background.
“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,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver, spokesman for the Virginia Air National Guard and director of Joint Task Force-DC Joint Information Center, according to American Military News.
“Unlike troops in the active-duty ranks who have a standardized set of awards, the Guard maintains a roster of state-specific ribbons and medals. Some commemorate state-level response operations; others honor heroism or mark the completion of a specific duty or achievement,” American Military News reported.
“This creates an added level of complexity for Guard members, who sometimes must maintain two ribbon racks: one for federal-level awards, and another for state-level ones. When activated on Title 10 federal orders, used for combat deployments and other missions in active-duty status, the former rack is authorized; when on Title 32 orders, used for state-level missions, the latter is.”
“Both ribbons are District-level decorations. Plans for their presentation are not yet final,” Carver said, according to American Military News. “Other federal decorations are also being considered.”
I have a few ideas, if Lt. Col. Carver doesn’t mind.
Contracting COVID for Reasons of Dubious Necessity Ribbon: At least count, nearly 200 National Guardsmen had contracted the novel coronavirus during their time deployed to Washington, D.C., in the immediate aftermath of Capitol incursion but before the inauguration rush was over. While correlation isn’t causality, one Guardsman said they had “packed us together like sardines,” according to Politico.
This “nearly 200” number was reported by the Military Times on Jan. 25, so more could be eligible by now. Design could be a simplified coronavirus particle design on a blue background to represent the new president’s party.
Political Theater Ribbon: For reasons not entirely clear yet — there’s quite a bit of finger-pointing going on, as you might imagine — there were no National Guard troops at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Within days, there were more troops in the 68-square-mile District of Columbia than are in expansive swaths of the Middle East that are prone to violence.
Granted, our government can’t be specific about the threats we face, but one of the reasons we had so many troops in our nation’s capital was to show how dangerous the Republican Partys had made our national life — so dangerous, in fact, that we had to treat the capital of the free world as if it were the Gaza Strip on lockdown despite the fact the National Guard Bureau said “[t]here were no security incidents reported” during the inauguration. Ribbon design: Tucker Carlson’s face with a big “X” through it.
Service in Perpetuity Ribbon: The last major threat was supposed to be March 4, when some QAnon stragglers allegedly believed Trump would be reinstalled as president because that was the original Inauguration Day under the Constitution. There’s no accounting for the thinking of people who seriously believed the world is controlled by a cabal of satanic pedophiles and a man named Q — who was supposedly JFK Jr. and decided to let everyone in on the conspiracy via “breadcrumb” postings on an obscure messageboard populated by basement dwellers — was going to team with Trump to save us all.
That said, March 4 has come and gone with absolutely nothing having occurred, which means the final contingent of 5,200 Guardsmen in D.C. will be quickly drawn down and … oh, wait, of course not. According to The Associated Press, they’re being deployed at the Capitol for another 60 days even though that threat didn’t materialize, with WAMU-FM reporting they could be there through the fall. Thus, if you’re part of this contingent, you get a ribbon with the infinity sign on it.
Quartering in Parking Garages Ribbon: Self-explanatory. Ribbon has a parking lot ticket on it. Remember to exit in 15 minutes or you have to go back to the autopay machine.
If you think I’m being dismissive of American service peronnel, consider the fact these are men and women who have jobs and families, yet are being shunted to parking garages, catching COVID and being fed rotten food, all for political theater.
Yes, they deserve the ribbons they’re getting.
They deserve so much more than that — including the respect to be deployed sparingly and not to be used as uniformed props for the Democratic Party.
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