Three Air National Guard planes landed at the East Granby military base Monday, carrying hundreds of Connecticut Army National Guard members home from Washington D.C.
“It was a pretty broad mission,” explained Public Affairs Officer Captain Dave Pytlik of the Connecticut Army National Guard.
An attack inside the Capitol earlier this month led to the call for an unprecedented military presence there, ahead of last Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.
Some of the soldiers who returned to Connecticut Monday served as part of the security mission to prevent a similar attack from happening again.
“Our military policemen, they were guarding checkpoints and they were stationed at various locations throughout the city,” explained Tech Sergeant Tamara Dabney of the Connecticut Air National Guard.
Connecticut’s guardsmen had a wide range of responsibilities. Members of the maintenance company provided logistics, while others provided frontline medical support.
“Providing walk-in care, transporting patients to hospitals, just taking care of our guardsmen across the nation,” said Pytlik.
Pytlik and Dabney said no matter their role, Connecticut’s troops had a hand in keeping the transfer of power peaceful.
“They were all just proud to be out there supporting American citizens, keeping everybody safe, protecting property, and supporting first amendment rights,” said Dabney.
While 6,000 soldiers are expected to remain in the nation’s capital, the security mission that started 10 days ago, ahead of the presidential inauguration, is now over for all 300 Connecticut national guardsmen sent to D.C.
“The takeaway here is that deterrence works. There was a large presence but it seems like deterrence works, the peace was kept,” said Pytlik.
“We all went down there to do a job which was to keep people safe and we did that,” added Dabney.
The 300 guardsmen from Connecticut were part of the 26,000 National Guard members called up from across the country for the D.C. mission.
These soldiers, tasked with keeping the peace, also had to contend with the possibility of catching the coronavirus.
“Obviously, they did their best to socially distance and wear masks when possible. Soldiers did have their own hotel rooms to go back to,” said Pytlik.
The soldiers will be tested for COVID-19 at their individual armories on Tuesday and then quarantine, according to federal guidelines.