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Area native gets prime job for inaugural parade

As a member of the Army’s elite ceremonial regiment, Staff Sgt. Brock Cummins winds up on TV all the time — at least his mom thinks he does.

“They all kind of look the same from a distance,” confessed Jenny Cummins, a Jamestown resident.

But on Monday, the 2002 graduate of Greeneview High School in Jamestown will get his best shot yet at a close-up when he provides commentary for CBS during President Barack Obama’s inaugural parade.

Brock Cummins, a 29-year-old veteran of two tours in Iraq, has been assigned to talk about his unit, the Army’s fabled Old Guard, as they pass by the presidential reviewing stand.

“To commentate on CBS about the Old Guard is an honor,” he said Friday. “I’m representing the honor guard to the nation on TV.”

When she found out what her son would be doing for Monday’s presidential inauguration, Jenny Cummins was less reserved.

“I squealed,” she said. “That’s a tremendous, high honor.”

Jenny Cummins admittedly is more nervous than her son.

“The Army does one thing well,” Brock Cummins explained, “and that’s prepare.”

He’s been prepped on what to say and what not to say.

Brock Cummins still isn’t sure, however, whether he’ll actually be on camera, which is nothing new.

“I’m not always seen on TV,” he said, “but I’m always heard.”

As a squad leader in the Old Guard, he calls for his men to present arms for arriving dignitaries in the nation’s capital. When they’re needed for a 21-gun salute, he gives the firing commands.

“That level of prestige and honor appealed to me,” he said. “You have to want to be here.”

Since being selected to the Old Guard in 2010, Brock Cummins has participated in close to 600 funerals in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Old Guard — the Army’s oldest active-duty infantry unit — also keeps 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns, although Cummins called those soldiers a select group inside a select group.

Just becoming a member of the Old Guard is difficult enough.

Recruiting information states that a male candidate must be 5 feet, 10 inches or taller. A female must be 5 feet, 6 inches or taller. Both must “present a sound military appearance in uniform.”

“You have to carry yourself a certain way,” he said.

Naturally, he’s excited to be participating in a presidential inauguration.

“We get a front row seat to this stuff,” he said, “and it’s awesome.”

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