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NEWS | March 26, 2021

Pa. National Guard answers call to serve in Capitol Response II

By Capt. David Boyles

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Several hundred Pennsylvania National Guard members supported Operation Capitol Response II, which followed its support of the presidential inauguration Capitol Response I in January.

Civilian authorities requested the National Guard to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with security, communications, medical, evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district, and federal agencies through mid-March.

“Regardless of political or public opinion, the one true staple is that the National Guard will execute our tasked mission, [and] that is to protect the Capitol so the seeds of liberty and posterity can carry on,” said Chief Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer, one of the two senior noncommissioned officers for Task Force Panther.

More than 450 Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, plus service members from other states augmenting the task force, departed from Fort Indiantown Gap Feb. 3 to Washington, D.C.

The contingent, known as Task Force Panther, included service members from the 171st Air Refueling Wing, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Task Force Panther was part of a larger force of National Guard members that continued supporting federal law enforcement agencies in Washington following the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration. The force initially numbered about 7,000 but was drawn down throughout February. Approximately 2,400 Pennsylvania National Guard service members were initially activated to support the inauguration.

“Bringing Soldiers and Airmen from over 70-unit identity codes seemed a bit daunting at first,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Poloka, the Task Force Panther Sergeant Major. "But as reliable as Pennsylvania Soldiers and Airmen are, we pulled together and completed the mission, all the while shattering barriers between Army and Air."

The Pa. National Guard members performed their duties with the professional excellence expected from them. The Soldiers and Airmen diligently fulfilled their duties regardless of the weather or adversity, with continuous adaptations and flexibility. The TF Panther service members continued provided support until March 12, in the spirit of the 2IBCT motto: "Whatever it Takes.”

“I am extremely proud of the Soldiers and Airmen of Task Force Panther for their efforts during Operation Capital Response II,” said Maj. Andrew Hogue, commander of 1st battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, and commander of Task Force Panther. “They executed the mission day in and day out, without complaint, and no matter the conditions. Whether changing areas of operations or surging forces during increased security posture; Task Force Panther remained strong and resilient until the very end. They served the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania impeccably.”