Kansas National Guard welcomes new commander in chief

By 2nd Lt. Briell Zweygardt
Public Affairs Office

People from across Kansas gathered on Jan. 14 to attend the inauguration ceremony for Gov-elect Laura Kelly that took place on the south lawn of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. Participants included members of the Kansas National Guard and the Kansas Highway Patrol who were there to render honors to their new commander in chief. Approximately, 150 Soldiers and Airmen supported the inaugural ceremony with military music, a 19-gun cannon salute and a review of the troops.

Gov. Laura Kelly reviews the troops during her inaugural ceremomy, escorted by Commander of Troops Lt. Col. Jason Inskeep; Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general; and Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendant Col. Mark Bruce; As governor, Kelly is commander in chief of the Kansas National Guard and Kansas Highway Patrol. (Photo by Capt. Lauren Orr, 105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

During the ceremony, Kelly acknowledged the importance of serving in the United States military.

“I want you all in the military to know, that I recognize your sacrifices and I’m eternally grateful,” said Kelly. “Your families will always be in my thoughts and in my actions.”

Kelly also recognized the commitment of the deployed Kansas National Guard family members who attended the ceremony.

“I lived on an Army post most of my childhood surrounded by service men and women,” said Kelly. “So, their sacrifices were always front and center. They were really a daily part of my growing up and it made me even more grateful for the commitment they have to our country.”

Kelly acknowledged the military formations through a ceremonial tradition called Trooping the Line. Kelly was escorted by Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas adjutant general, and Col. Mark Bruce, superintendent, Kansas Highway Patrol, as she walked by each formation and inspected her troops.

Later that evening, the 35th Infantry Division band, color guard, and other members attended the Inaugural Dinner and Ball. A few select members were military escorts for Kelly and other state officials during the Grand March.