NEWS | Jan. 20, 2021

Air National Guard: Defending America on the Capitol Grounds

By Capt. Jennifer Proctor 138th Fighter Wing

Airmen from the Oklahoma Air National Guard joined their Oklahoma Army National Guard counterparts to form a joint task force to provide on-the-ground support in Washington D.C. for the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

On January 17, 2021, the Oklahoma National Guard mobilized a total of 392 guardsmen, including 32 Airmen, and joined with 25,000 Guard members from all across the country to assist with the D.C. National Guard’s support of the inauguration.

Members from the 137th Special Operations Wing, Oklahoma City, and the 138th Fighter Wing, Tulsa, Oklahoma, integrated with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team after very short notice.

The joint Oklahoma National Guard task force rapidly mobilized and moved to the nation’s capital, arriving Monday, January 18, and began providing security at the U.S. Capitol building the next day.

“This was not a typical deployment with a 90-day lead time,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Emerson, commander of the 137th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron. “This was a quick mobilization of diverse groups across the state.”

Although people typically associate the Air Force with defending America’s skies, the airmen found themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the ground with Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen while manning one of the inner perimeters around the Capitol.

Emerson said the Airmen worked tirelessly throughout inauguration day as well as the three days prior to the event.

“These airmen and soldiers demonstrated the Oklahoma standard to the nation. They were consummate professionals as they stood their posts in extremely challenging conditions with virtually no breaks.” Emerson said. “This is an experience that none of them will forget. Nothing compares to the pride these airmen felt defending our Nation’s Capitol, supporting the Constitution, and ensuring a smooth transition to a new administration.”