Hampton University alums play key roles in Inauguration Day


Brig. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead (left) and Casey Blowe, Ensign (0-1) of the United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard (right) both Hampton University graduates.

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Two alumnae from Hampton University will be playing critical roles in the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, the assistant adjutant general for the Maryland National Guard, and Casey Blowe, Ensign (0-1) of the United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard, both attended Hampton University, the university wrote in a news release Tuesday.

“Hampton University is incredibly proud of Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead and Ensign (0-1) Casey Blowe for their important parts in the peaceful transition of Presidential Power taking place at the Capitol. Thank you to both of them for all they do to protect and serve our wonderful country,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

Birckhead will command the National Guard troops that are providing support at the inauguration.

Birckhead earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampton University in 1991. She also has master’s degrees from the University of Maryland University College and the U.S. Army War College. She is the 14th Hampton University alum to reach flag officer status.

Blowe will be involved in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Blowe graduated from HU in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. Her mother is Dr. Eleanor H. Blowe, the principal of Denbigh High School, also a 1990 HU alumna.

Blowe is the second African American female officer in the history of the Coast Guard to be an Honor Guardsman.

“It is an honor to be able to do this ceremony, and to be in this position right now,” said Blowe. “I never thought that by doing something I enjoy, that I get to make history. I have stood in front of the first African American President and now the first African American female Vice President. It’s a big deal to stand before them and get to do what I love every day.”

The inauguration will begin around 11 p.m. on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington.

The wreath-laying will be held at Arlington National Cemetery around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Watch the wreath-laying here.

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