Protecting the nation’s capital
Ohio National Guard’s 1-148th Infantry provides support to 59th Presidential Inauguration
Story by 1st Lt. Jayme Aksterowicz,196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
WASHINGTON, D.C. (01/26/21)
In the early hours of Jan. 14, Soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment arrived in Washington. Buses carrying over 200 Ohio Soldiers joined the endless rows of buses surrounding the 80,000-square-foot D.C. National Guard armory. After an exhausting 11-hour bus ride, the Soldiers disembarked and immediately began inprocessing.
Passing through metal detectors, a COVID-19 screening and administrative paperwork, Soldiers entered the drill floor to be greeted by pallets of food and water surrounding two large projector screens. There were hundreds of Soldiers from various other states and territories sprawled out in the bleachers, some sleeping, as others watched movies or spoke to loved ones, while awaiting their next movement order.
The 1-148th Soldiers were hurried through long hallways, downstairs and into an underground storage area where they stored their weapons and gear. The Soldiers then returned to the drill floor where they were briefed on the rules of use of force and were sworn in as special police.
These Soldiers travelled a great distance on an expedited timeline, at the request of their governor, to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration. For some of these Soldiers, this is their second time in the National Capital Region within the last few months, but this time is different.
This nationwide mobilization of National Guard members from all 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia came out of security concerns following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, when armed protestors stormed the building in an attempt to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election and also potentially to cause harm to members of Congress. Enhanced security in the National Capital Region was ordered in the days leading up to and through the Jan. 20 inauguration.
The Ohio National Guard activated approximately 1,000 Soldiers and Airmen for security operations in the NCR during the inauguration. The 1-148th was one of the first from Ohio to answer the call, with Soldiers getting only a day’s notice before being activated, however they were ready to respond without hesitation.
“The protection of our democracy, on our homeland, is an extraordinary mission to be assigned,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Dickerson, 1-148th battalion commander. “Being asked to be a part of protecting our nation’s heritage, i.e. the Constitution and what it stands for, our democracy and freedom, is the highest honor and privilege that our country called upon my unit to be responsible for.”
The 1-148th Soldiers were in Washington to assist law enforcement authorities with protecting lives and property of citizens, and ultimately, to help ensure a peaceful transition of power from the outgoing presidential administration to the incoming one.
The battalion boasts an incredible lineage, and most recently its Soldiers have been called upon numerous times in support of the Global War on Terrorism with deployments to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Kosovo and the United Arab Emirates. The battalion has responded to many state activations and is still currently assisting with COVID-19 pandemic relief in Ohio. All of those missions have instilled a sense of pride in the organization, but nothing quite like serving in the National Capital Region.
“It represents the high level of discipline and professionalism that the Ohio National Guard Soldiers execute their missions by; to be not only understanding, but be able to execute something that is on a level that is far beyond any other mission that they have ever been on before,” Dickerson said.
The unit trains year-round to maintain its readiness and often lives up to its motto of “We’ll Do It.”
“I feel that we have been in similar circumstances where we were on a short notice recall and established processes that allowed us to be successful this time to properly plan in the limited time provided in order to facilitate the unit’s success,” Dickerson said of his unit’s preparation. “(It) resulted in the rapid turnover of missions from other units to ensure our full mission compliance.”