News | Feb. 3, 2021

NH Guardsmen return from DC mobilization

By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston

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.”