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Guard Keeps Boston Strong for Marathon

Massachusetts Citizen-Soldiers assist federal, state and local police during city's famed race
A member of the Massachusetts National Guard keeps watch as athletes run the Boston Marathon on April, 20, 2015. Photo by Massachusetts National Guard
A member of the Massachusetts National Guard keeps watch as athletes run the Boston Marathon on April, 20, 2015. Photo by Massachusetts National Guard

BOSTON Early on a cool, drizzly morning, runners, volunteers and spectators participated in the 2015 Boston Marathon.

With a course that stretches from Hopkinton, MA, to the well-known finish line in downtown Boston, thousands of people cheered on the runners, walkers and mobility-impaired participants who endured the 26.2-mile course.

Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assisted federal, state and local police with public safety and support.

Colonel Mark Merlino, commander of Joint Task Force Patriot, supervised the combined Guard’s efforts 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,” says Lieutenant Colonel James Sahady, spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard.

Soldiers from units that included the 747th Military Police Company of Ware, MA, walked, ran and provided security, as well as other important roles, further cementing the presence of the Massachusetts National Guard in this major event.

The level of manpower is appropriate for this mission, said Captain Tyler Field, commanding officer of the 747th.

Soldiers with the 747th set up entry control points to verify the credentials of the participants, staff and observers at the starting point.

“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,” says Specialist Tom Therrien, a military police Soldier with the 747th.

As people from around the world traveled to take part in the marathon, the same went for members of the National Guard around the nation.

Colonel Mark Doll of the New York Air National Guard traveled from Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, HI, where he is stationed, to run in this year’s marathon. 

“It is Patriots’ Day. No better place in America to be than Boston,” Doll says. “It is a privilege and an honor to be included with these elite runners.”