Around 80 Alaska National Guard members volunteered to assist with Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., and were expected to travel to the capital Monday.
The guardsmen were to fly Monday from Alaska to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland southeast of Washington, according to a written statement from Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead.
On Jan. 6, a violent mob overtook the U.S. Capitol building, clashing with and overpowering police in an encounter that sent lawmakers fleeing and resulted in the deaths of five people. This week, as the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the riot, hundreds of National Guard troops were inside and outside the Capitol while thousands more continued streaming into the city.
More than 20,000 National Guard troops from all 50 states and three U.S. territories are anticipated in D.C. by inauguration day, The Washington Post reported this week. Major security measures are being implemented across the capital, including a closure of the National Mall to the public for almost a week. The Post reported that by Wednesday, it’s likely there will be more National Guard troops in Washington than spectators for the event.
“This is about ensuring the safety and security of all Americans attending next week’s presidential inauguration,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a prepared statement. “A contingent of Alaska’s National Guard volunteered to join their fellow Guardsmen from around the country, in the nation’s capital, to help ensure a peaceful transition.”
Olmstead wrote that troops nationwide will help the District of Columbia National Guard with crowd management, traffic control, communications, logistics, medical support and public affairs.
Editor’s note: This story was changed to reflect the fact that the departure was delayed til Monday, Jan. 18.