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NH Guardsmen return from DC mobilization

New Hampshire Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities greets N.H. guardsmen at Pease Air National Guard base aboard a West Virginia National Guard C-17 Globemaster III aircraft upon their return from a week-long mobilization to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2021.

New Hampshire Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities greets N.H. guardsmen at Pease Air National Guard base aboard a West Virginia National Guard C-17 Globemaster III aircraft upon their return from a week-long mobilization to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2021. The contingent of soldiers and airmen from various N.H. Guard units was ordered home by Gov. Chris Sununu following their presidential inauguration security mission. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

Spc. Joseph Lirette of the 160th Engineer Company, NHARNG, and fellow guardsmen march through the streets of Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2021.

Spc. Joseph Lirette of the 160th Engineer Company, NHARNG, and fellow guardsmen march through the streets of Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2021. A team of about 50 NH guardsmen stood watch into the early morning hours at a security post near the Capitol, then staged nearby on alert status for the inauguration. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

Airmen of the 157th Security Forces Squadron, NHANG, pose before the Washington Monument at the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Airmen of the 157th Security Forces Squadron, NHANG, pose before the Washington Monument at the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

New Hampshire guardsmen slumber in a parking garage Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. They staged there overnight to enable quick response to the Capitol area for the presidential inauguration.

New Hampshire guardsmen with the 157th Security Forces Squadron from Pease Air National Guard Base slumber in a parking garage Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. They staged there overnight to enable quick response to the Capitol area for the presidential inauguration. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

Airmen of the 157th Security Forces Squadron stage in the streets of the National Capital Region Jan. 20, 2021

Airmen of the 157th Security Forces Squadron stage in the streets of the National Capital Region Jan. 20, 2021. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

New Hampshire guardsmen conduct civil disturbance training in the FedExField parking lot Jan. 18, 2021, in Landover, Md.

New Hampshire guardsmen conduct civil disturbance training in the FedExField parking lot Jan. 18, 2021, in Landover, Md. About 50 soldiers and airmen deployed to the capital region to provide security for the presidential inauguration. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston, NHNG Deputy State PAO.

CONCORD, N.H. --

The contingent of New Hampshire guardsmen mobilized to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration has returned home.

After guarding an office building and then staging at the Department of Agriculture, the team of 50 New Hampshire citizen soldiers and airmen completed its security mission at other government facilities.

They flew back to New Hampshire on Jan. 23 after New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu ordered their immediate return.

Spirits remained high despite 36-hour shifts, sleeping in parking garages, and changing missions. 

“Morale has been good across the board,” said Maj. Brooks Hayward of the 941st Military Police Battalion, the contingent’s officer in charge. “Everyone has maintained a good attitude and a willingness to work.”

The mobilization integrated soldiers and airmen from various New Hampshire Guard units, which hasn’t always been commonplace.

“Pre 2020, we often worked within our silos. The Air did their thing while the Army did its own,” Hayward said. “But especially with the COVID response and then some civil unrest events taking place over the summer, we’ve worked pretty closely together.”

The historical significance of the mission was not lost on the guardsmen as they continued drawing 12-hour security shifts after the inauguration.

“I don’t know the next time I’ll be in D.C. in this particular role,” said Maj. Sherri Pierce, commander of the 157th Security Forces Squadron. “I think the airmen and the soldiers really enjoyed being here. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of event.”

Pierce’s sentiments were echoed by even her most junior airmen.

“I never would have expected to be here down in D.C. during an inauguration, but I’m glad I got to do it,” said Airman 1st Class Matthew Black. “It’s a good experience.”

As the mobilization extended well past Inauguration Day, there was no shortage of positive energy and teamwork.

“The soldiers and airmen who went on this mission have been absolutely outstanding,” Hayward said. “They have taken it all in stride.”

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