Thomas Gill, Inauguration Coordinator, calls President Obama's second inaugural a 'monumental undertaking'

8:04 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

FORT MYER, Va. (WUSA) -  What does it take to plan an event for two million guests?

Reinforcements. About 270 people who serve in every branch of the military around the world are coming in to help plan the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Thomas Gill, ret. Air Force, just finished his military career at a base in the United Kingdom and has signed on as a civilian to be an interagency coordinator for the big event.

"This is a neat opportunity to work with a lot of different agencies that help pull this all off. It's a huge, monumental undertaking so its very interesting to me to be part of that," said Gill.

The 27 new arrivals on Thursday were treated to a concert by the U.S. Army's "Pershing's Own" and a ceremonial performance by the Old Guard. Both will play leading roles in the Inaugural parade, and so will the horses at the caisson stables which are based at Fort Myer.

"You have to have the additional manpower to handle the additional tasks. They exist (the planning group) for a very short period of time just to make sure that the nation really does show that that inauguration is a very important event and it has to be done right," said Col. James Markert, the commander of the Old Guard.


At President Obama's inauguration in 2009, there were record crowds of close to two million. For the first time, the inaugural committee opened up the entire National Mall for public viewing, which they plan to do again on January 21st.

For the parade, they're hoping a few changes will make it smoother. First, construction that was here in 2009 is gone, floats are to be made smaller so they'll more easily be able to turn corners, and because it's President Obama's second inauguration, fewer people are expected.

But weather could be a spoiler.

"I certainly hope we have good weather because weather definitely affects what takes place on the day of the event. In 1985 where we have to cancel the parade, and cancel the outdoor inauguration, that left a lot of people broken hearted," said Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, U.S. Army, commander, Joint Task Force -National Capital Region.

The administration makes the call on whether weather is so bad the outdoor events need to be cancelled. In 1985, for Ronald Reagan's second inauguration, the outside temperature was seven degrees Fahrenheit. 

Most Watched Videos