Air Force ROTC Alum Prepares for Inauguration Day
By Ellen Rhudy
| Jason Long RC'97. Photo courtesy Armed |
Forces Inaugural Committee.
When Barack Obama officially takes the presidential reigns on Inauguration Day in January, U.S. Air Force Major Jason Long RC'97 will also become part of history.
Long is serving as a law enforcement coordinator with the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, the group charged with coordinating all military ceremonial support for the inaugural period. The U.S. Armed Forces have participated in the presidential inauguration since 1789, when members of the U.S. Army, local militia units, and Revolutionary War veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.
Long, who describes this temporary assignment as "an opportunity of a lifetime," began planning for Inauguration Day in July. His 11-year Air Force career has proven to be sound preparation for the detailed work involved in readying for the ceremonies. Responsible for coordinating police-related services and traffic control for the inaugural parade, Long has a hand in everything from researching past inaugurations; route control within the staging, assembly, and dispersal areas; coordinating police convoy escorts; and more.
"This is an outstanding opportunity to be a part of the history of our country," Long says. "I look forward to contributing to this important event, as the world watches us welcome our new leader."
An active-duty Air Force major, Long is based in Rosslyn, Virginia, where he works in studies, analysis, and assessments. He is an action officer in the Lessons Learned Office, studying events and breaking them down in order to identify more effective execution methods and processes – a role that qualifies him to review law enforcement coordination for past inaugurations and devise the best plan for the 2009 ceremonies.
Although Long's family has a military history (his grandfather flew during WWII as a member of the Army Air Corps, and his father was in the Air Force for a short time), he hadn't considered a military career for himself before arriving at Rutgers. An administration of justice major, Long decided to join the Air Force ROTC after noticing its building on the College Avenue Campus in New Brunswick.
His work in the Air Force has since taken him around the world. "My past assignments have required coordination with many different organizations, from local police departments in the United States to foreign police and security forces while overseas in Europe and Asia. These experiences have been priceless to me in preparation for the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee," he says.
Long's involvement may not be as obvious on Inauguration Day as are the bands and honor cordons. His months of research and planning, however, are central to guaranteeing that all runs smoothly during this peaceful transition of power, when much of the world will be watching President-elect Obama take office.
"It is the realization that we will be a part of our great country's history that drives me," Long says.