25,000 MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD LAND IN D.C.March 19, 2021
Washington D.C. is now a temporary home for 25,000 National Guardsmen from all over the United States. The guardsmen’s arrival was authorized as a security measure. Security got beefed up in anticipation of President Biden’s inauguration. This move comes a short time after the assault on Capitol Hill, U.S.
Gathering and transporting this impressive number of guardsmen in D.C was an impressive feat. This was the case considering that the guardsmen had to be brought in within a couple of days. The request to bring them in was from the Secret Service. They requested the number of guardsmen to get increased to 25,000 from the previous 15,000. This number is quite impressive. It is five times the combined size of military personnel in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen Daniel Hokanson, was the first to acknowledge the logistical problems they overcame by bringing such a huge force from every state across the country. This impressive feat was made possible by flying in guardsmen from across the country using 40 military planes that dropped them off at Joint Base Andrews. These guardsmen flew in from all 50 states. Gen Hokanson and his team beseeched every state to provide personnel so they could meet the number that the Secret Service had requested.
According to Hokanson, his call was answered by everyone. They all came in to provide the amount of support that was required. The 25,000 guardsmen were expected to arrive before the Inauguration day with 11,000 arriving the previous Saturday. Lt. Col. Alysia Benson also commented on this maneuver by the National Guard. He termed the mobilization and transportation of the 25,000 Guardsmen as record-breaking. Lt. Col. Benson is the Force Squadron commander of D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Air Wing. He was a key player in organizing the guardsmen’s airlifting to D.C. Benson also added that this kind of feat took months to carry out successfully. However, since time wasn’t on their side, they made it possible within a moment’s notice.
Joint Base Andrews was stretched tight since it hadn’t handled such huge traffic of flights, inbound and outbound. Moreover, its infrastructure wasn’t up to par with the one possessed by some of the major hubs for transportation that are owned by the military. Hokanson also pointed out the difficulty they had encountered in having to quickly shift from their civilian roles to arranging the transportation of 25,000 guardsmen. According to him the National Guard, which he called a part-time force, has soldiers that work in their day-to-day regular jobs, and recalling them wasn’t easy. A chunk of these 25,000 guardsmen will be armed to help secure federal land in D.C as well as protect the Capitol. The rest will join the police force in regulating traffic beyond the designated area and they will be unarmed.
The decision to arm some of the guardsmen is in response to threats that were picked up by personnel in the local law enforcement team and the FBI. Hokanson said that the sole mission of the guards brought in was to protect the citizens of the United States and their property.