Defending two Capitols at once adds to 'unprecedented' year for Wisconsin National Guard

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin National Guard will have 500 troops among the thousands in Washington D.C. during inauguration, but they also have an eye on the badger state, as Governor Tony Evers has called them to protect the state Capitol.

“In all cases when the National Guard is requested, we always serve in a support role to whoever is requesting the assistance," Wisconsin National Guard Major Joseph Trovato said. "So in Madison we’re serving in direct support of the Capitol Police Department there.”

Wisconsin National Guard Association Director Colonel Mike Williams said the last twelve months have been unprecedented.

There were foreign deployments, the Democratic National Convention, unrest throughout the year and now protecting two Capitols at once.

“In the 50 plus years that I’ve been involved with the military, and specifically the Wisconsin National Guard, I cannot recall a year like this,” Williams said.

Unlike other years, they also operated COVID-19 tests for months all across the state.

“It certainly has provided some unique challenges as far as providing some upfront training.”

Williams said this is what the guard prepares for. And in some sense, deployments are business as usual, but he said this many long deployments do take a toll.

“It’s not only put a strain on our guard members, but on their families and their employers,” Williams said. "These members have to go tell their boss they will be gone for an extended period of time.

Williams said time will tell if the increased use of the National Guard will impact the military branch or how members are trained moving forward.

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