FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Around 500 Arkansas National Guardsmen and women are back home after serving in Washington, D.C. for the presidential inauguration.
“Arkansans should be proud of their sons and daughters and neighbors and co-workers,” said Col. Nick Jaskolski.
Col. Jaskolski is a commander for the 142nd Artillery Brigade in Arkansas. He joined soldiers from across our state in D.C. last week.
“Their discipline and dedication to duty is really just emblematic of their character and the sacrifice that our National Guard soldiers make every time the nation or the state calls.”
For Sergeant Brian Dearing, this was at the forefront of his mind the second he saw the riot at the Capitol a few weeks ago on tv.
“Being in the guard, you’re kind of prepared for these kind of events to happen,” Sgt. Dearing said. “I was kind of expecting the call to happen it was just about when and how everything was going to happen.”
1st Lieutenant James Napier said he was also honored to answer the call for his service- masked up and socially distant from other soldiers.
“Our job was just to secure the parameter of the capitol,” he said. “They had fencing in place and we manned that fencing and entry control points.”
The soldiers said they are now home with memories that will last a lifetime.
“It was an honor for my first time being in D.C. being a part of history,” said Sgt. Dearing.
“I think when you just stand back and look at the capitol building you think about all the history, you think about all the rights that are fought for there, that are legislated for there… being a part of that was really special,” said Lt. Napier.
The soldiers will remain on duty at Fort Chaffee for medical screening and COVID-19 testing.