ISS1 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 25 of 55

Tucked into every corner of planning for the 58th Presidential Inauguration were members of the United States Coast Guard. The Joint Task Force National Capitol Region, a military unit that stands up every four years in support of the presidential inauguration, has a few Coast Guardsmen serving in positions from special events to security, from operations to, yes, public affairs. This large-scale event, which takes a planning staff of several hundred service members from all five services, would, at its crowning moment, involve thousands of their brothers- and sisters-in-arms, as well as thousands more civilians. Planners needed to account for every unpredictable aspect, from the needs of the military horses to the unpredictable Washington, D.C., weather. This was the third experience working at the inauguration for one crucial member of the team, Cmdr. Michelle Watson, head of Joint Team (JTM) Street Cordon. She was no stranger to the job, having led the same team in 2013 in a deputy position for President Obama's second inauguration. When she got the call, requesting her by name to reprise her role — this time as head of Street Cordon - she jumped at the chance. "I love operational planning. Planning to me is second nature; it's like breathing -- planning and logistics," said Watson. "You can tangibly see your mistakes and successes." As a former military commanding officer and a civilian inventory manager for a large corporation in Florida, Watson knows the importance of preparedness and communication. But in both those roles, as well as her current job, she's also garnered a lot of experience in last- minute problem-solving – something she described with a smile in her voice. "Every day is different. You're not just making the donuts. Most days you find yourself working with your teammates trying to figure out how to put a square peg in round hole, and you only have fifteen minutes to do it. I love that." Her job as JTM Street Cordon commander involved organizing almost 1,600 service members, representing all branches of the military, who would stand 15 feet apart along the entire parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol Building to the White House. Those members would render a salute to honor the outgoing president and again to the incoming president on his initial trip to the White House. "When we give that first salute to the new commander-in- chief, we represent two million service members around the world," said Watson. "It's truly an honor." Cmdr. Michelle Watson, USCGR Cmdr. Michelle Watson, head of Joint Team (JTM) Street Cordon at Joint Task Force n ational Capitol Region, does an interview with Tom Sherwood of n BC4 in Washington to discuss preparations for the 58th Inauguration festivities. 24 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2017

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