WASHINGTON (WANE) – Two Fort Wayne natives experience the 59th Presidential Inauguration first hand while being deployed to Washington, D.C. for the ceremonies.
Pvt. Damon Gentry, a combat medic with the Indiana Army National Guard’s, graduated from initial training in October. The Inauguration was his first mission after graduation.
“At first, I was kind of nervous,” Gentry said, referring to when he received the call that his unit was being sent to Washington to provide security and other missions during the lead up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration.
Within 24 hours of receiving the phone call, Gentry and others from his unit were being briefed at Camp Atterbury on the mission in Washington, the Indiana Army National Guard said.
“I really looked forward to the opportunity to put all of the training I’ve received into practice,” he said. “As a medic you never really want to be needed, but just being out here at the checkpoints with Soldiers ensuring I have all the proper equipment and doing what I have been trained to do is rewarding.”
Another member of the company, Capt. Daniel Ostlund, the unit medical provider, had a similar experience when called to serve.
“My wife was worried after the events from earlier in the month, rightfully so,” Ostlund said. “I, on the other hand, was super excited. I was ready to go the night I received the call. These missions are why I joined.”
Despite the short notice and the events that lead to the deployment to Washington, Indiana Guardsmen and their families answered the call to help protect the sanctity of the democratic process and to help ensure the peaceful transition of authority.
“Our Hoosier Guardsmen stood ready with more than 25,000 citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen from around the country to help ensure a peaceful transfer of authority at our nation’s capital,” said Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard. “In Indiana, we continue to support COVID-19 response missions [by] assisting at long-term care facilities, distributing invaluable personal protection equipment and also helping to distribute the coronavirus vaccination. Yet we could not do all this without the love and support from our family, friends, communities and civilian employers. Thank you, Indiana.”