One hundred local guardsmen with the Tennessee National Guard have recently returned from deployment in Washington D.C.
According to Sgt. First Class Terry Plunk, Readiness NCO with the 890th Sapper Company of Huntingdon, he and his fellow guardsmen returned from that duty late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Fifty guardsmen from Huntingdon, 50 from the McKenzie unit, and another 50 from other West Tennessee units departed for our nation’s capitol on Jan. 16 as part of the 230th Engineering Battalion based out of Trenton.
There they met up with other National Guard members from across the country in order to provide a deterring presence and to respond to any possible unrest, violence, or terrorist activities in the wake of the events of Jan. 6, as well as to provide extra security during the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
As many as 26,000 National Guard troops were present in and around Washington D.C. at one time, but that number has since been greatly reduced as units have been recalled to their home states.
As Plunk detailed, his battalion was assigned to watch and guard a particular area fairly close to Capitol Building, keeping watch for any possible threats to persons or property.
“We did not encounter anything like that,” said Plunk. “Everything seemed real positive in our area, and the local population was welcoming.”
He said they did see a few peaceful protesters, but he added that some of those protesters actually came up and thanked the guardsmen for their service and for helping to keep everyone safe.
As far as the controversy about some guard members being forced to bunk down on the cold concrete in parking garages, Plunk said he and other guardsmen in the area where he was deployed were allowed to take respites from the cold in a heated parking garage, but they were provided with hotel rooms to stay in.
The Huntingdon unit is headed up by Cpt. Nathan Skopak.