By Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond,
Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Guardsmen from every corner of the country descended on the nation’s capital to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration, Jan. 20.
Nearly 300 Kentucky Guardsmen from across the commonwealth were among them. The majority of that number were from the 198th Military Police Battalion based out of Louisville, Kentucky, who augmented local law enforcement in the Capital region during the event.
“I’m proud to be here representing the Kentucky National Guard and our state,” said Spc. Austin Willett with the 438th Military Police Company from Murray, Kentucky. “This is one of the first times I’ve been on a mission out of the state, and it has to be a highlight of my career.”
The Kentuckians joined roughly 7,500 Guardsmen from 44 of the 54 states and territories in support of the inauguration. The District of Columbia National Guard oversaw the joint task force providing command and control from the D.C. Armory near the Capitol, while supporting units were staged in various locations around the city and in neighboring states.
The 198th were tasked as a reserve force and awaited any request from the D.C. Metro Police Department. Lt. Joseph Colin has served with the D.C. Police at several inaugurations, and said it was a privilege for him to swear in hundreds of National Guardsmen as D.C. Special Police Officers Jan. 19.
“This event is so special, to the country and this city, and to be able to work with so many agencies including the National Guard makes it that much more special and exciting,” said Colin. “We’re very grateful to have National Guard units from across the country here to assist us and I know we will be successful because of the good working relationship we have with the National Guard.”
Regardless of their role, the MPs of the 198th were glad to be a part of such a event. Unit leadership all agreed that the mission was successful and was another feather in the cap of the battalion that takes the lead on such events as the Kentucky Derby and Thunder Over Louisville annually in Kentucky.
“We may not have played a large part, but we answered the call and supported the city and the nation as was needed,” said Capt. Jacob Lee, operations officer for the 198th. “These young Soldiers can return home knowing they successfully supported the mission and an American tradition.”
In addition to the 198th, the 149th Signal Company based out of Lexington, Kentucky, the 123rd Airlift Wing from Louisville and medical support personnel and members of the headquarters communications office from Frankfort, Kentucky were also on hand to assist.
“The Kentucky National Guard is proud to be a part of such a historical event,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell, Kentucky’s assistant adjutant general. “The mission serves as yet another example of the unique role the National Guard, our interoperability with civilian agencies and our unbridled service to the nation.”