The newly-confirmed retired Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke rode a horse to his first day of work as Secretary of the Interior. Zinke, who on Wednesday officially became the 52nd person to hold the position, wore a hat and was escorted by United States Park Police as he made his way down the National Mall to the Interior Department’s main building.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement tweeted a picture of Zinke making his way to his new office. Former acting Interior Secretary Jack Haugrud greeted Zinke on the department steps.
More than 350 federal employees awaited Zinke’s arrival, including a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee who played a veterans song on a hand drum.
After his grand arrival, Secretary Zinke tweeted that he was humbled by his warm welcome.
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said that Zinke accepted an invitation from the Park Police to “stand should-to-shoulder with their officers on his first day at Interior, the eve of the Department’s anniversary.”
Shortly after starting his first day, Zinke tweeted that his first meeting was with ethics.
Sec. Zinke served in the military for over two decades before retiring at the rank of Commander in 2008. Before enlisting, Zinke attended the University of Oregon where he studied geology. As Secretary of the Interior, the 55-year-old former SEAL will be responsible for overseeing and managing the nation’s public land, national parks, and wildlife refuges. As a former Congressman from Montana, Zinke served on the House National Resources and Armed Services Committees.
Before retiring as Navy Commander, Zinke was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat missions in Iraq. During his time in politics, Zinke has been an advocate for greater use of the nation’s public lands, pushing for policies which encourage energy production. He has also called for state control of energy development on federal lands.