46 Kansas guardsmen volunteer to remain on duty in DC
Remaining 250 return home, proud to have served
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Forty-six Kansas guardsmen remain on duty in the nation’s capital after Thursday’s return of nearly 250 back home to Kansas. Almost 300 Kansas guardsmen volunteered to serve in support of the inauguration of President Joe Biden. They remained there nearly two weeks, in the wake of the assault on the country’s Capitol.
Soldiers and airmen were lucky to have 72 hours notice when they were called up just weeks ago. Major Dallas Nivens, a logistics officer, praised his fellow guardsmen for their remarkable service to our state and nation.
“As the hallmark of their professionalism, they were very, very flexible. They understood that in many cases the decisions about what happens tomorrow is based on what does or doesn’t happen today,” Maj. Nivens told 13 News via Zoom Friday.
Nivens says they were very professional, understanding that it was a developing situation--and represented Kansas very well. The guardsmen were part of multiple task forces from all 50 U.S. states and 4 territories. Kansas soldiers and airmen served as a sort-of quick reaction force--on stand-by during the inauguration for additional support to the other task forces. In the following days, they served to protect the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and also the Library of Congress, where they were based.
“It was very memorable to see the Capitol Mall and to see it in the current condition, in the current state where it was,” Maj. Nivens recalled. “It was just locked down for various security reasons. And, uh, So, whether it was new or you had seen it before, no one had seen it quite like that before.”
Nivens noted that while the National Guard has long served in support of presidential inaugurations, this was a first for Kansas. He said their soldiers and airmen had a sense of pride in their service--knowing that they did was asked of them and did it well.
“Ultimately, the biggest test too was when it came time to, the DC Guard had asked for additional volunteers to stay on through March for any other contingencies that might happen,” Nivens said. “We had just under 50 Kansas guardsmen that stepped forward to volunteer out of the 300 that we took.”
Major Nivens said that Governor Laura Kelly has remained committed to continuing to support the D.C. Guard. Meanwhile, for the 250 who returned home Thursday, Nivens says that they stepped off the KC 135′s proud that they did what they are trained and called to do.
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