Washington, D.C. (WCIA) —

“Getting 25 thousand troops out of D.C. at this point, I think is really what’s kind of slowing the process down,” Illinois National Guard Staff Sergeant Brandon Rakers said.

Those troops were in Washington D.C. for the inauguration, but now they’re starting to return home, some to Illinois.

National Guard from across the country were called to duty in D.C.
Members were glad to be called and relieved nothing happened.

Staff Sergeant Brandon Rakers is still in D.C.
It’s going to take a while to get thousands of troops home, but it didn’t take very long for them to get there in the first place.

“The city has definitely cleaned up here quite a bit over the last 24 hours. It’s going back to normal,” Rakers said.

Normal means not having thousands of national guard members on the streets of D.C.
One Illinois guard member says they were called to duty quickly for the inauguration.

“We were actually notified roughly about 18 hours prior to us showing up and getting ready, getting on a plane, and showing up here,” Rakers said.

Brandon Rakers, staff sergeant, says he worked crowd control in D.C. He stood behind police as back up. Guard members weren’t just in D.C. They were also at the state capitol in Springfield, all as a precaution.

“You never know what is truly going to happen. They were trying to give us a heads up if anything that they knew was coming. As far as we were told, there was truly nothing big planned, to where they were assuming just like we were assuming it was going to be a peaceful transition of power,” Raker said.

It was.

“My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together,” President Joe Biden said.

Rakers says it was a positive way to start the new year.

“I mean from what we’ve seen so far, totally peaceful transition and hopefully moving forward it will stay that way,” Rakers said.

Looking back, Rakers has a unique perspective on 20-20 and what it meant for the Guard.

“2020 was a really good year for the guard in actually being used, being utilized, you know. For years on end we just sit stagnant,” Rakers said.

Rakers hopes in the future the national guard will be called again, but will also have a similar peaceful outcome as the inauguration ceremony.

“If something did seem to happen, if people did show up, we were there to respond, but I think the presence was really the key goal there,” Rakers said.

Rakers also said they wore masks the entire time. He adds that he had his own hotel room during his stay.