MINNESOTA, USA — The Minnesota National Guard says nearly 400 of the 750 soldiers and airmen sent to help facilitate the inauguration of President Joe Biden returned home Saturday, with the remaining 350 expected to return Sunday.
The mission involved members of the 133rd Airlift Wing, 148th Fighter Wing, 682nd Engineer Battalion and the 94th Cavalry Regiment's 1st Squadron B Troop.
MN National Guard members joined the roughly 25,000 state guardsmen from across the country, sent to safeguard the inauguration, while assisting local and federal law enforcement agencies in the wake of a Jan. 6 riot by President Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol.
"Last week, I saw all the guardsmen coming out here [Washington, D.C.] from different states and I said to myself, ‘this is something I really wish I could do,’” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mark Peloski in a news release put out by the MN National Guard on Friday.
"So when I got that phone call, I was super excited," he said
The U.S. National Guard Chief, Army General Daniel Hokanson, outlined the sheer logistical scope of the mission to defend the 59th Presidential Inauguration.
“Our ability to move 26,000 Soldiers and Airmen to D.C. from every state and territory in less than two weeks would not have been possible without the support of our governors and their adjutants general," Gen. Hokanson said. "It speaks volumes about America’s investment in the National Guard; and most importantly, the support our service members get from their family and their employers.”
The Friday news release says Minnesota's guard members were assigned to "Task Force Metro - Team Crowd," positioned at strategic locations at the disposal of law enforcement - with some missions beginning as early as 2 a.m.
Fortunately, a sea of calm upheld, and violence did not break out a second time at the nation's capital, nor any of the state capitals the FBI had informed should be on high alert following the U.S. Capitol riot.
“My biggest take-away from this historic event is that one day I’m going to be able to sit down and tell my kids about how unique of an experience this was and how I was able to answer my nation’s call with the Minnesota National Guard,” said Staff Sgt. Peloski.