WASHINGTON — With temperatures climbing toward the 100 degree mark, U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class David Pomeroy, a 2018 Copperas Cove High School graduate, and other members of United States Navy Ceremonial Guard drove to the White House at 8 a.m. on July 3 and were allowed inside by 11 a.m. after multiple security checks.
Pomeroy and other branches of ceremonial service members were practicing by 11:30 a.m., running through the presentation of the nation’s colors and military branch service flags four times until 8 p.m. The presentation of the colors had to be perfect not only for the President of the United States, but also for the millions who would watch the White House Salute to America live on N-B-C on July 4.
“I felt great pride in the fact that I would be representing the entirety of the Navy and with that also came the overwhelming nervousness of being on television and (fear of) making the Navy look bad,” Pomeroy said. “But, I looked back at my training and reassured myself that I would execute it flawlessly.”
On the day of the event, Pomeroy checked into the White House at noon and waited for the start of the event at 6 p.m. Pomeroy and the ceremonial guardsmen entered the ceremony at 6:15 p.m. to present their services flags. They then formed a joint service color set and were required to stand perfectly still for an hour while the President and others addressed the audience. Various planes, jets, and fighter craft flew overhead followed by the playing of America, the Beautiful before color set departed.
“I have done events at the White House before for the arrival of foreign dignitaries, but this event was entirely different,” Pomeroy said. “The feeling of patriotism around me was surreal.”
Selection as ceremonial guardsmen requires an interviewevaluating work history and activities, appearance, physical fitness, military bearing, and current performance in basic training. If chosen, sailors relocate to Joint Base Anacostia Bolling in Washington, D.C. following basic training to complete a self-paced training program to prepare their uniforms to perfection, maintain impeccable military bearing, and master rifle drill movements.
“It normally takes eight weeks for someone to become a (ceremonial) guardsman,” Pomeroy said. “After training, you are assigned to a specialty platoon including casket bearers, drill team, firing party, and color guard. I chose to go into the color guard.”
Once accepted, Pomeroy entered a long training process learning the rifle, Navy colors, and national ensign drill, along with memorizing every ceremony performed by the ceremonial guard. Once mastered, Pomeroy became fully qualified and began teaching sailors who have not yet become fully qualified.
“We only put fully qualified members on high level events like the Salute to America event. I was chosen from the other fully qualified members because I stood out amongst my peers. There are currently 10 other fully qualified members,” Pomeroy said.
Pomeroy enlisted in the Navy two years ago and with the rating of hull technician that involves welding, plumbing and heating and air conditioning repair skills.
“Growing up, I relied on (Copperas Cove High School) football and my family to groom me into the man I am now,” Pomeroy said. “I decided to join the Navy due to the opportunities to learn certain trades and be able to use those skills I picked up whenever I decide to return to the civilian world.”