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300 Idaho National Guard members back home from inauguration

January 25, 2021 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Roughly 300 Idaho National Guard members returned home Sunday from a deployment to Washington, D.C.

The Idaho National Guard soldiers and airmen joined about 26,000 other National Guard members from around the country to assist with security during the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The group from Idaho arrived in Washington about a week after violent insurrectionists laid siege to the Capitol. Five people died and dozens of Capitol police officers were injured.

“We were assigned to task force Capitol grounds, so we provided security at the Capitol,” said Idaho National Guard Lt. Col. Steve Arnett. “Our first few rotations were perimeter security for the Capitol and then our last rotation was a quick reaction force for any disturbance that might have occurred. We were there to support the perimeter defense.”

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Arnett said he was apprehensive about the possibility of having to deal with violent protesters, but the week of the inauguration saw very little protest activity.

“I think the Guard as a whole there was a visible deterrent to anyone who was thinking of that,” he said.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little and Idaho National Guard Adjutant General Maj. General Michael Garshak greeted the returning soldiers and airman when they returned.

“It never ceases to amaze me, the dedication of the men and women of the Idaho National Guard and their families,” Little said. “Thank you to your employers. That’s all part of the chemistry of what we do here.”

Another 200 Idaho National Guard members are currently deployed around the state to help with efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.