At last week’s presidential inauguration, one Ragland man was in attendance and located only about 30 feet from President Barack Obama.
Jonathan Talley has served in the United States Coast Guard for just over a year. At the nation’s capitol, he served as a member of the Coast Guard’s Honor Guard during the presidential inauguration.
Talley, 24, is a 2007 graduate of Ragland High School. Once he graduated, he spent four years working at Ford Meter Box in Pell City, and was going to school some at night.
“I joined the Coast Guard because I thought it would be a good career option,” Talley said. “I’d always given the military some thought, and decided the Coast Guard would be my best career option.”
Talley attended boot camp for eight weeks at Cape May in New Jersey. He admits it was a tough eight weeks, but he survived.
“It is a mental toughness,” he said. “They like to mess with your head.”
After boot camp, Talley was stationed in Alexandria, Va. to be in the ceremonial Honor Guard right outside Washington D.C. He has been there about a year.
Talley’s next assignment will be to attend A-school. Currently, there is a waiting list in the Coast Guard to go to these schools. He is on a list to go to aviation maintenance.
Currently, Talley is the rank of an E-3. He participates in ceremonies, such as the presidential inauguration. He also is a member of the Honor Guard that does all the Coast Guard funerals at Arlington. He has been part of an Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“It’s an honor,” Talley said. “I enjoy it, and I enjoy being there. Being in the Coast Guard’s Honor Guard gives me a sense of pride and makes me feel proud to be an American. I love what I do.”
Talley is the perfect build for an honor guardsman. He stands 6-foot, and weighs 200 pounds.
It was Talley’s first presidential inauguration, but he hopes it is not his last.
“It was definitely interesting being there, and being that close to the president,” Talley said. “I was an usher at the first section of chairs, so I was pretty close to him. During the oath of office, I was about 30 yards away.”
When asked if he was going to make a career in the Coast Guard, Talley said it really depends on the next couple of years.
“It really depends on A-school,” he said. “A-school for aviation is in Elizabeth City, N.C., and will last for 20 weeks.”
Talley has done a lot of traveling, especially the past six months. His travels have taken him as far as Los Angeles to take part in a memorial service. He even met Miss America at a recent event.
After the presidential inauguration, Talley and a friend came home to Ragland where he spent a few days with family and friends.
He is the son of Rev. Edwin and Teresa Talley. He has a sister, Malea Talley, and a niece, Memory.