Black & Powerful: Maj. Gen. William Walker, Sergeant at Arms for U.S. House

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From the South Side of Chicago to the top-ranking security officer for the U.S. House of Representatives, Maj. Gen. William Walker makes history.

He's now the first Black man to become the Sergeant at Arms for Congress. Appointed by Speaker Pelosi last spring, his job is to keep the U.S. Capitol building secure and its members safe.

But Walker's journey began a long way from Washington, D.C. He was raised in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood and he credits his success, in part, to the education he received at St. Sabina Academy and Leo High School.

"It is really an honor and privilege to be back to walk around this amazing academy. It all starts with education. It's the foundation that you continue to build on the tools that are acquired here," Walker said.

That discipline laid the foundation for his career as a Major General in the U.S. Army and a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Walker went on to become the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, which he still held on January 6, 2021. He was forced to wait more than three hours for approval to deploy his troops as a mob of Trump supporters forced their way into the capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. He said he was "alarmed" and "disappointed" at what he witnessed that day, vowing that the capitol will never be breached again.

"As we go through this intel sequence, we make sure we have the right resources to secure the Capitol complex. There is nobody that wants to see January 6th occur again," he said.

The Capitol riots weren't the first time Walker's role as the head of the National Guard was brought into the spotlight. In the summer of 2020, as protests raged across the country, Walker said order needed to be restored to D.C.

"I'm an African American. I'm Black. George Floyd could have been me," Walker said. "But I believe Americans have the right to assemble peacefully, and exercise their First Amendment privileges. But they have to do so in an orderly fashion."
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.