70 Kentucky Guardsmen to remain on duty in D.C., down from 150
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) — The Kentucky National Guard has agreed to extend the mission in support of the U.S. Capitol Police and the Washington D.C. National Guard through May 23, 2021.
Approximately 70 volunteer Guardsmen will continue to provide support to the National Capitol Region, while Kentucky’s footprint will be reduced from the 150 personnel who are there now.
According to Army Capt. Joshua Whitfield, officer in Charge of Task Force Legion, it was a great opportunity for those who volunteered to go, to not only serve their country but see the sights in the region as well.
“The opportunity to come to DC and serve is a once in a lifetime chance for many,” said
Whitfield. “The ability to see the monuments, Arlington and so much American history on a single mission is unheard of. The history in Washington DC represents freedom and the American way of life and we all serve to preserve the freedoms our constitution guarantees us. TF Legion Soldiers overwhelmingly rose to the challenges of this mission and I’m very proud of them all.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III approved the request by the U.S. Capitol Police for continued National Guard support through May 23, 2021 on March 9th.
Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission.
This represents a reduction of nearly 50 percent of the current support force across the entire National Guard.
This decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness, according to a Dept. of Defense Press Release.
During this extended period, DOD officials will work with the U.S. Capitol Police to incrementally reduce the National Guard footprint as conditions allow.
Over the course of the last week and this week, those who volunteered from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based out of Richmond, Ky., and Airmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing out of Louisville, will be on their way back to the Commonwealth.
The 149th MEB Soldiers were charged with overseeing the mission of protecting property and providing a safe environment for those who worked inside the Capitol building and surrounding areas.
The Airmen of the 123rd AW were assisting in the Joint Information Center.
The Kentucky National Guard also has approximately 200 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.