Suffolk native to help at inaugural

Published 12:24 am Saturday, December 31, 2016

When the pomp and circumstance of the 58th presidential inauguration plays out in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, one Suffolk native will have a very important role.

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Ellis will work the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in his capacity as a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, commonly referred to as the “Old Guard.”

Ellis, a graduate of King’s Fork High School, is assigned to the presidential escort platoon, which frequently escorts the president, welcomes foreign dignitaries and performs other high-profile ceremonies.

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“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be here,” Ellis said. “I’m trying to be a part of history.”

Ellis said he originally joined the Army inspired by his grandfather, who was a Vietnam veteran.

“He had strong character and a lot of discipline,” Ellis said. “I always felt like I could contribute a lot. I just thought the Army would be the best place to display those things.”

Ellis served two tours in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Battalion before his assignment to the Old Guard. He’s now based at Fort Myer, located near Arlington National Cemetery and a stone’s throw from the Pentagon.

Ellis said he has spent a lot of time lately preparing his soldiers for Jan. 20.

“We have to make sure everything is coordinated and choreographed, so we all look like one moving piece,” he said. “President-elect Trump, he’s going to be there, and you want to show him the representation of the Army he’s seeing is as good as it’s going to get.”

Ellis said the preparation process has included pressing uniforms, shining medals and shoes and focusing on physical fitness, with an emphasis on being able to stand at attention for hours.

“These guys have to be physically fit,” he said. “You can’t just take a guy and make him stand still. These guys have to be in shape, and I’m charged with that.”
The logistics of the day will be complicated, but Ellis said they have spent a lot of time preparing for that, too.

“If everybody comes to work and does their part and goes beyond that and tries to do more, that helps the process go a lot smoother,” he said.

Ellis said he appreciates the opportunity to be in the Old Guard.

“I think coming here will make me a better leader for the Army,” he said. “Along with being a Ranger, it’s going to make me a really good leader and give me an experience that a lot of people … haven’t done.”

Ellis said he hopes to put his best foot forward not only to serve his country but also for his family and others in his hometown.

“When other guys see me back home, I want them to look at me and say, ‘That guy right there, he makes the Army look good,’” Ellis said.

Ellis has a 6-year-old son, Segyn Ellis, who attends Elephant’s Fork Elementary School. He also has a brother and sister still attending King’s Fork High School and a brother at King’s Fork Middle School, as well as other siblings.

He also said his biggest supporter is Nic Roberts. “She tells me I can do whatever I put my mind to,” he said.

“All the people that supported me back home, I hope my service is some type of payback,” he added. “You can’t really pay that back. I’m going to do the best I can as a soldier, as a father and a brother.”