Thousands of National Guard troops from across the country have been temporarily assigned to Washington to assist with inauguration events, officials said.
Most of the troops were processed at the National Guard Armory on East Capitol Street SE, which has served as headquarters for the 6,000 guard members who came to Washington. Others were processed at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, stopped by for a visit with the troops Jan. 19 on their way to the Kid’s Inaugural Concert at the Washington Convention Center. The Bidens had spent much of the day helping to fill CARE packages for Americans deployed overseas as to observe the National Day of Service.
“I stopped by to say thank you,” Biden told the troops. “Thank you for all you do.”
The National Guard troops will assist with “traffic control, crowd management, transportation, communication, medical, logistical, and food services for the inauguration,” according to the National Guard website.
“These men and women, representing 30 different states and territories, will back up local and federal law enforcement,” said Army Brig. Gen. Art Hinaman, who will direct the troops for inauguration operations.
Six thousand troops were sworn in at a special ceremony Jan. 19 at the armory to serve as special police to assist the Metropolitan Police Department during the inaugural festivities. Another 2,000 will be on alert in jurisdictions near the District, officials said.
For their part, the National Guard troops were proud to participate.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so special,” said Sgt. Reginald Stiggers of Indianapolis, Ind. “This is my first inauguration after 22 years of service. I am ready to perform my duties.”
Hinaman said the National Guard is not new to inaugural service. “The D.C. Guard has (done) that ever since Abraham Lincoln,” he said.