FRANKFORT, Ky. (Kentucky National Guard) — The Kentucky National Guard will send approximately 150 Soldiers to the National Capitol Region next week to assist civilian law enforcement with security operations through March 2021. Washington D.C. is expecting 5,000-7,000 Guardsmen from around the nation to provide support.
Based out of Richmond, Ky., volunteers from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade have been charged with overseeing the mission and will assist in protecting property and providing a safe environment for citizens to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and protest. Federal and local authorities have requested continued National Guard support following the conclusion of the 59th Presidential Inauguration.
The nearly 350 service members previously charged with providing support to the 59th Presidential Inauguration, returned home Jan. 24.
According to Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, the Adjutant General of Kentucky, the soldiers will continue similar support that was provided for President Biden’s Inauguration Jan. 20.
“Law enforcement in DC has requested additional Guard support into March and we’re willing to do our part,” said Lamberton. “The Soldiers from the 149th MEB will represent Kentucky and work alongside service members from many other states to help where most needed. We’re incredibly proud of their continued efforts.”
The soldiers on this mission will have the same living conditions as those who provided support to the Inauguration. They will stay in hotel rooms, have multiple hot meals a day and have standardized work shifts with regular breaks.
Command Sgt. Major Benzie Timberlake, the senior enlisted Soldier for 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry helped to spearhead Kentucky’s initial response to the Presidential Inauguration and said that the experience in Washington D.C. was an overwhelmingly positive one.
“Our Soldiers really enjoyed themselves in Washington for the Inauguration,” said Timberlake. “Our fellow Kentuckians can rest easy knowing that all of our Soldiers were treated with the dignity and respect they deserved. We were not forced to sleep in parking garages, were fed way too much food and all lodged in 5-star hotels.
“This trip turned from Kentucky service members being there to help ensure the peaceful transfer of power to a true retention event that they will tell their children and grandchildren about. The professionalism and commitment to serve from our Soldiers in this Battalion remains unmatched.”
The National Guard incorporates a wide variety of capabilities that can seamlessly integrate with interagency partners to enhance National Special Security Event support capabilities.
Many states are activating to provide timely, safe, and proactive support to civilian authorities.
Those National Guard personnel supporting DC will remain under their respective governor’s control, under Title 32, 502 (f) orders for the duration of the mission and adhere to DC law. Additional National Guard personnel may be activated under State Active Duty status at the direction of governors to support civil authorities in their particular states.
“Our National Guard Soldiers and airmen are set around the city to protect our nation’s Capital. At the same time we have thousands around the country supporting COVID operations, Operation Warp Speed, and a multitude of Soldiers and airmen are deployed overseas supporting combat operations,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau said. “I would especially like to thank the families who are maybe alone tonight, and let you know our nation greatly appreciates all your sacrifices, and those of your service member. I cannot be prouder to be part of this organization.”
The Kentucky National Guard also has more than 180 Soldiers and Airmen continuing to provide support to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic across the Commonwealth, in addition to service members currently deployed overseas in combat operations.