More than 100 National Guard Members return home, after volunteering to stay longer at Capital mission

Local News

PEORIA, Il. (WMBD) – 100 Illinois National Guard members stepping off the plane and on their way home.

With 18-hour days, one Sergeant said they were always on the go.

“My day started around 5 o’clock in the morning and ended around 11 o’clock at night,” said Sergeant First Class Olson.

More than 500 members of the Illinois National Guard were suddenly sent to Washington D.C following the deadly riot at the U.S Capitol in early January.

138 days later a homecoming, the 100 men and women stepped off the plane in Peoria Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s nice, it feels like I’ve been gone longer than four months. My own bed, like I really want to get back in my own bed,” said Olson.

Beside sergeant first class Olson was specialist Kristina Johnson. They are both from Peoria and both volunteered to stay extra time in D.C.

They said a decision was motivated not just by protecting lawmakers but also each other.

“I wanted to continue to help them out and make sure they were safe so they can go home to their families,” said Johnson.

“These soldiers here who landed with me, I stayed to take care of them,” said Olson.

A long mission but one they said was rewarding.

“Amazing actually, I was very excited that I was able to go on that mission and do it, it was new it was different,” said Johnson.

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