U.S. National Guard troops from Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Maine are heading to the nation’s capital to support law enforcement through the presidential inauguration next week, joining fellow Guard members from more than a dozen other states.
As of Jan. 14, there were about 7,000 National Guard members on the ground in the District of Columbia from D.C., Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state.
Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the Secret Service, Capitol Police and U.S. Park Police requested the assistance. The Secret Service is the lead federal agency coordinating security for the inauguration next Wednesday.
Up to Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen from 43 states and territories are authorized to provide security, communications, medical evacuation and other support to civilian authorities.
“The National Guard has a long and proud history of inauguration support,” Hokanson said. “The forefathers of today’s National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and we have been part of every inauguration since.”
About 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops will mobilize to federal duty to support civil authorities in the National Capital Region.
“We are once again thankful to the Wisconsin National Guard for always stepping up, not only for their friends and neighbors here in Wisconsin, but wherever they are needed,” said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. “I’m confident these members of the Guard will assist in any way they can to help maintain peace and security in our nation’s capital in the days ahead.”
The Oklahoma National Guard is sending approximately 400 Guard members to D.C. to assist law enforcement with crowd management, traffic control and communications, logistical and medical support. The mission is expected to last seven to 10 days.
“When people see the National Guard, they know we are there to help,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, adjutant general for Oklahoma. “The men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard who will be supporting the inauguration are the same Guardsmen who have been there time and time again for Oklahoma communities.”
The Nebraska National Guard is sending 230 troops to Washington to help protect property and provide a safe environment for people to exercise their right to assemble and protest peacefully.
Nebraska’s initial plan for inauguration support called for 30 personnel to provide communications, food service, administrative and religious support to the National Guard task force. A subsequent request for another 200 Guardsmen to assist civilian law enforcement with security was received and approved by Nebraska officials this week.
“I am incredibly proud of our Soldiers and Airmen who will participate in this historic event, one that reinforces the peaceful transition of power – a hallmark of our democracy – and ensures the safety and well-being of our fellow Americans at our nation’s capital,” said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska adjutant general.
Maine is planning to send 175 to 200 National Guardsmen south to D.C. to assist through the inauguration.
“We’re proud to join our brothers and sisters from across the country to support the peaceful transition of power and ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow Americans,” said Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, Maine’s adjutant general.
New Mexico National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are also deploying to support the inauguration.
“This mission provides our Soldiers and Airmen the great opportunity to work and experience our democracy at work as they assist with a peaceful transition of power,” said Maj. Gen. Ken Nava, the adjutant general of New Mexico.
In addition to the Guard’s growing presence in the nation’s capital, almost 1,900 Guard members are protecting state capitols and key infrastructure around the county.
More than 21,300 Guard members are also helping states respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting with vaccinations, testing, food bank support and other missions.
This story is based on reporting by the National Guard in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico and Maine.