Suffolk man helps protect President

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Colonel Herman “Tracy” Williams III, CPP, a Suffolk native, served an important role during the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

Williams directly led security support planning, coordination and execution in support of civilian law enforcement agencies for the largest National Security Special Event ever, the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.

“Our role is centered on providing defense support to civilian authorities,” he said. “The inauguration is one of the many National Security Special Events we, the Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region, have participated in.”

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Williams assumed this position in June 2007 after completing three years of brigade-level command of the 104th Area Support Group and U.S. Army Garrison Hessen in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Functioning as part of an interagency team, Williams said, his primary goal was to ensure that the inauguration spotlighted democratic process of the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander in Chief — and not concerns over security.

The Pentagon 9-11 Memorial dedication, the 2008 Papal visit, and the State of the Union address are also events during which the interagency team joins the U.S. Secret Service to create a secure environment and to be prepared to respond in the unlikely event of a large-scale incident.

“It has been a great privilege for me to be a part of that historical event and to have had the opportunity to be another representative of the two million men and women faithfully serving our great nation around the world. With the completion of that event, I will now begin transition from active duty, retiring as Colonel in April with nearly 30 years of military service,” Williams said.

Upon his retirement Williams will reside in the town of Haymarket in Northern Virginia with his wife Melba; son Alex, 14; and daughter Alexa, seven.