The inauguration of the President of the Unites States takes place every four years on January 20, during the commencement of a new term. Prior to the addition of the Twentieth Amendment, the inaugurations occurred on March 4, the day of the year on which the Constitution of the United States first took effect in 1789.
That first inauguration took place 57 days later than the specified March 4 date, however. Due to the failure of Congress to convene a quorum to receive the Electoral College results, the offices of President and Vice President were not confirmed until April 6, 1789.
Washington was informed of what he already knew by messenger on April 14, and departed Mount Vernon on April 16 for New York. A week's worth of receptions and processions in his honor diverted Washington through Alexandria, Va.; Georgetown; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, and Trenton, N.J., finally ending in Elizabeth, N.J., where he took a barge to New York.
New York Chancellor Robert Livingston inaugurated President Washington on April 30, 1789 on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City.
Navy Stewards have provided food service to the Commander-in-Chief since 1880. Since that time, The Navy has assigned their best Culinary Specialists to the Presidential Food Service (PFS) to prepare the finest foods and provide presidential quality service for the President. The modern White House Navy Mess was established under President Harry Truman in 1951. What originally established 61 years ago as a Commissioned Officer’s Mess Closed (Flag), Naval Aide to the President in the West Wing of the White House has grown to Senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and White House Military Office Unit Directors. PFS is a joint unit with 55 Navy personnel, including a representative from each branch of the armed forces.
The mood, excitement and preparation for PFS personnel began in November 2012. At this point, we knew the President that we would be serving for the next four years. All of the inauguration planning started rounding into shape, and as the day grew near, the realization that history was unfolding right before our eyes started a weeklong build-up of anticipation and pride!
This past January, members of the White House Military Office’s PFS played an important role in making President Barack Obama’s historic public inauguration ceremony a successful event. President Obama’s second term commenced with the 57th Inauguration of the President of the United States in a private ceremony on Jan. 20, 2013, and the public inauguration ceremony occurred on Jan. 21, 2013. The White House Navy Mess began meeting with staff members as early as one year ago in preparation for this historic public event. From the swearing-in and luncheon served in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, to the Inaugural Parade and balls, the Navy Mess was there.
Early on the morning of January 21, three PFS members arrived at the Capitol to support President Obama for the swearing-in ceremony. They set up hold rooms, provided refreshments, and set up the limo prior to the departure for the parade. For the lunch following the swearing-in, they oversaw the preparation of the food and ensured food safety and security. PFS did not serve the meal to President Obama, but did oversee and monitor the wait staff that provided that service.
During the Inaugural Parade, another group of PFS personnel were assigned to the viewing stand constructed outside the White House to provide services to President Obama and his guests as they watched the parade.
On the evening of January 21, two PFS personnel were assigned to the Inaugural Balls at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. PFS treated these sites the same way as any other event in D.C., setting up the hold rooms and preparing refreshments for President Obama and his guests. The day after inauguration, the Navy Mess supported President Obama’s visit to the National Cathedral for the National Prayer Service.
As more than one million Americans arrived in downtown Washington, D.C. from all around the country to witness the historic event, PFS provided critical behind-the-scenes customer service to the President and First Family, which helped contribute to a successful 57th Presidential Inauguration.
Every Sailor serving one year or longer with PFS is authorized to wear the Presidential Service Badge (PSB) with their uniform, even after departing PFS. The PSB identifies Culinary Specialist (CS) who has had a successful tour at the White House or Camp David. As these Sailors return to the Fleet, they take with them a sense of pride, professionalism, a wealth of knowledge, and culinary experience. This type of experience continues to have a direct impact on the quality of food service aboard our ships, especially with the incorporation of more “scratch cooking” into our menus. They are shining examples of what it takes to serve in the Office of the President of the United Sates, and each of them have a story to tell.
As a Supply Corps officer representing the U.S. Navy and the Navy Supply community, it is truly an honor and privilege to serve as the Director of the Presidential Food Service, serving with the finest men and women in the Supply community, and providing quality service to the President of the United States. I am humbled with these unforgettable and extremely rewarding experiences, both personally and professionally.
PFS stands for Presidential Food Service but from what I’ve seen and experienced with their dedication to the unit’s mission, in my opinion, these are some of the President’s Finest Sailors!
Simply glad to represent - Hooyah!
Director, Presidential Food Service