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‘This is what I signed up for’: Fort Wayne guardsman describes protecting Capitol

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- Army National Guard members are expected to return to Fort Wayne Thursday after spending the past two weeks protecting the U.S. Capitol during the presidential inauguration.

"This is what I signed up for, to protect our country and our democracy. And if I'm called up to do this then that's my duty," First Lieutenant Jon Roach said.

Roach says the night the crowd of insurgents rushed the U.S. Capitol, he got a call to report for duty the next day.

He's been with the Army National Guard in Fort Wayne for eight years but says this was his first deployment.

Roach and 120 other Fort Wayne-based guardsmen met up with 500 more from the rest of Indiana at Camp Atterbury, then drove to Washington, D.C.

He says he stayed in a hotel a block from the White House and four blocks from the Capitol while the city was locked down.

"I feel like we went in there, we did our mission and we accomplished it, and feel like our country's better because of it," 1st Lt. Roach said.

"We just had like a rotating cycle of soldiers who would go out and man the entry control points or would just be manning the fences around the Capitol," Roach said.

As an executive officer for the Forward Support Company of the 38th Infantry, he handled logistics and planned the safety of the people under his command.

"We did that with a thorough planning process that started days before the inauguration. And we worked with the Secret Service and other federal parties to ensure the safety of our soldiers," he said.

He says it was an honor to serve his country and says he's grateful that the inauguration went smoothly.

"I feel like we went in there, we did our mission and we accomplished it, and feel like our country's better because of it," Roach said.

The Fort Wayne guardsmen are expected to be home Thursday.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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