Utah National Guard troops return home from D.C. deployment
SALT LAKE CITY — About 350 Utah National Guard troops are back in the Beehive State Wednesday night. They were deployed on January 15th to Washington, DC to support civil authorities for the inauguration. The service members arrived aboard Utah Air National Guard’s KC-135 military aircraft.
Captain Jeffrey Dallin Belnap says their mission was to provide security protection for surrounding structures during the inauguration, saying even though he has been deployed overseas before, he has not seen anything like this, as troops initially did not know what to expect following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“It was one of those- you prepare for the worst but the hope for the best kind of scenario,” recalls Belnap.
He says troops felt somewhat anxious at first but felt like their mission went pretty well. He is grateful that he was able to serve Utah and the nation.
Governor Spencer Cox says the troops served with distinction and now hopes for their help in distributing COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the state. Cox says he is grateful they can serve wherever and whenever they are needed.
Late night welcome home to the last of our troops from DC. I’m so grateful for their sacrifices this past week…year…always. They truly represent the best of our state. pic.twitter.com/nGbiELxixr
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) January 28, 2021
All personnel were medically ready and adhered to COVID-19 safety protocols while assigned in the nation’s capitol, and will be given a COVID-19 rapid test before being released to their home station.