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NEWS | May 27, 2021

Kentucky Guardsmen Return Home from Nation’s Capital

By Sgt. Matt Damon, Kentucky National Guard

Serving in the United States National Guard requires a level of flexibility that’s unique to military service. From balancing civilian careers, everyday life, and military duties, the life of a Guardsman can go from routine to active at a moment’s notice. This was the reality for Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard who were mobilized to support Operation Capitol Response at our nation’s capital.

Since January 2021, Kentucky Guardsmen have supported the United States Capitol Police (USCP) in the Capitol Region. Seeing Soldiers or Airmen in the Capitol is not uncommon, however, seeing 20,000+ guardsmen was definitely out of the ordinary. This marks the first time in history that this many troops have been stationed in the Washington metro area. 

Referred to as Task Force Legion, more than 150 volunteers from the Kentucky National Guard augmented district, federal, and state law enforcement agencies by providing security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support through the end of May during Operation Capitol Response II. 

“While serving, these Soldiers have excelled in all tasks that have been assigned to them,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Barker, acting first sergeant of TF Legion, assigned to the 101st Main Command Post-Operational Detachment. “From standing guard at a static post or integrating with law enforcement officers from the USCP while conducting dismounted patrols, and ultimately ending mission as an Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) asset.”

On more than one occasion, Kentucky Guardsmen have been praised by USCP and local citizens for their professionalism and overall attitude. They carried out their mission while enduring harsh weather conditions to include rain, sleet, and snow, through all hours of the day and night.

“When I came on shift and saw that I was working with the Kentucky guys, I felt great,” said USCP Officer Andre Womack II. “These Soldiers take their jobs seriously and attempt to always exceed the standard.”

Barker continued, “Kentucky Soldiers and Airmen have set the standard for this operation that all other states should strive to follow. I have watched them not only grow as people, but as Soldiers and leaders of this great organization that we know as the Kentucky National Guard.”

For Pat, Kassie, and Noah Savoy, local D.C. residents, they were honored to bear witness of Kentucky Soldiers conducting their duties during their nightly neighborhood walks.

“Getting a front row seat to see the commitment, kindness, and patriotism of your Guards is something that will stay with our family for years to come,” said Pat. “The citizens of Kentucky should be proud knowing that they are being represented and guarded by such remarkable individuals.”

Leadership from Kentucky visited with TF Legion during their time there. They checked on the Service members’ morale, highlighted their hard work, and received updates on the mission.

Sgt. 1st Class Nikko Moreno, platoon sergeant for Task Force Legion and member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 206th Engineer Battalion, received a coin from State Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers. 

“These Soldiers have stepped up and really gone above and beyond their paygrade,” said Withers, referring to Moreno and the other Kentuckians. “I hope this small token of appreciation inspires each of them to continue to do great things.”

Task Force Legion completed their mission and will return to Kentucky this week. They will reintegrate into their careers, families, and civilian lives with a little more pride knowing they represented the commonwealth as true professionals.

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