WASHINGTON — Capt. Meritt Phillips, a 1988 graduate of Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine, recently joined the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, which is preparing to support the 56th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20, 2009.
The joint service committee is charged with coordinating military ceremonial support for the inaugural period. As a joint committee, it includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including Reserve and National Guard components, according to a press release from the Office of Public Affairs, Media Ops.
Capt. Phillips, the daughter of Janice and Vincent Kremin of Carrabassett Valley and retired Col. James Phillips of Blaine, is assigned to the public affairs office as an action officer. She is responsible for assisting in the coordination and development of public affairs strategic and operational plans and the coordination and integration of operations for military support to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee.
Phillips is a 1993 graduate of the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She received her commission as a second lieutenant from the school’s ROTC program. Phillips has served for the past 18 years in both the Maine Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve as an Army aviator and a public affairs officer. Phillips completed a combat tour with the Joint Special Operations Task Force in the Southern Philippines. In her civilian career, she works as a sales representative for Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Maine and New Hampshire.
The U.S. Armed Forces have participated in the inauguration of the president of the United States since April 30, 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.
The secretary of defense has authorized nearly 750 service members to be assigned to AFIC by Inauguration Day to coordinate Department of Defense support in and around the District of Columbia. Historically, as many as 5,000 service members have participated in the celebration, both in view of the public and behind the scenes.