BOSTON - Early on a cool, drizzly morning, runners, volunteers and spectators participated in the 119th Boston Marathon. With a course that stretches from Hopkinton, Mass., to the well-known finish line in downtown Boston, thousands of people cheered on the many runners, walkers and mobility-impaired participants that endured the 26.2-mile course.
Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers and Airmen provided approximately 500 Soldiers and Airmen to assist federal, state and local police with public safety and support. Col. Mark Merlino, commander of Joint Task Force Patriot supervised the combined Guard’s efforts to assist federal, state and local police to keep the route safe for the runners from Hopkinton to the edge of Boston.
“Our Soldiers and Airmen effectively supported the 119th Boston Marathon as we worked closely with officials from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Boston Athletic Association and our many interagency partners to ensure a safe and successful race,” said Lt. Col. James Sahady, spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard.
Soldiers from units that included the 747th Military Police Company of Ware, Mass., walked, ran and provided security, alongside other important roles, further cementing the presence of the Massachusetts National Guard’s integral role into this major event.
The level of manpower is appropriate for this mission, said Capt. Tyler Field, the commanding officer of the 747th Military Police Company. The 747th is just one security entity amongst the many units and organizations that supported the race.
Soldiers with the 747th set up entry control points to verify the credentials of the participants, staff and observers at the starting point in Hopkinton.
“The 747th is a great addition to the security aspect as well as the public relations aspect, because we can engage in friendly interactions with the crowd along with providing a sense of protection,” said Spc. Tom Therrien, a Military Police Soldier with the 747th.
As people from around the world travel to take part in the marathon, the same went for members of the National Guard around the nation.
Col. Mark Doll of the New York Air National Guard traveled from Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hickam, HI, where he is currently stationed, to run in this year’s marathon.
“It is Patriot’s Day. No better place in America to be than Boston," said Doll. “It is a privilege and an honor to be included with these elite runners.”
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