DC Deployment

Appears in the March 2021 issue.

By Megan Jones

When Illinois Army National Guard Captain William Konovsky visited Washington, D.C., on vacation, he said the area was under heavy security—but nothing compared with the scene he saw on Inauguration Day in January.

“It looked way different,” said Konovsky, who also works as a patrol officer for the Aurora Police Department. “When you have 25,000 troops occupying a city, you can’t go anywhere without seeing a soldier.”
Konovsky was one of around 300 Illinois National Guard members sent to the nation’s capital for Inauguration Day. They waited on standby to respond to any possible civil disturbances during the inauguration. Thankfully, he said, the event was quiet.

William Konovsky

Konovsky has worked as a police officer for the last eight years. Recently he was the commander for three National Guard deployments to Chicago from May to June and October for civil unrest and in November for security during Election Day. For the Inauguration Day assignment, he said there was an impressive amount of work done by both government groups and private sector businesses to support the units sent to the capital.

“From the amount of aircraft, soldiers, lodging and feeding, it was a lot of logistical aspects and it was phenomenal to see lots of entities work together,” Konovsky said.

Soldiers who went for Inauguration Day were volunteers, some were already slotted to go that day before the January 6 breach of the Capitol, he said. Extra security for the inaugural was added in the wake of the riot.

“To be at a historic event was phenomenal and just to be asked to go as a representative of Illinois was an honor for our soldiers,” Konovsky said. “We were happy we got a chance to be a part of it and that everything was safe.”

This story originally appeared in our sister publication, the Aurora Beacon, and is reprinted with permission.

Photos by Rob Carr/getty Images and courtesy Illinois National Guard