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National Guard support to 59th Presidential Inauguration authorized up to 21,000

21-005 | Jan. 14, 2021

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has authorized up to 21,000 National Guard men and women to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

“Right now, we have approximately 7,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen on the ground in support of the lead federal agency, and we are building to 21,000 for the upcoming inauguration,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau said during an inauguration security briefing with Vice President Mike Pence today. “They are under the command and control of Maj. Gen. William Walker, the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, and are providing security, communications, logistics and coordination with all supported agencies.

“As always, our first priority is to protect people and property – and the safety and wellbeing of our National Guard personnel and their families,” Hokanson said. “I visit with these men and women every night and they understand the importance of this mission. They are also proven, prepared and proud to do their part to ensure a peaceful and safe inauguration of our incoming commander-in-chief.”

National Guard civil support missions are generally conducted to assist:

  • Supporting civil authorities whose capabilities or capability is insufficient to meet current requirements.
  • Protecting the life, property and safety of U.S. citizens.
  • Protecting critical U.S. infrastructure.
  • Providing humanitarian assistance during disaster response and domestic emergencies.
  • Providing support to designated law enforcement activities and operations.
  • Providing support to designated events, and other activities.

“As you may be aware, the forefathers of today’s National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and have been part of every inauguration since,” Hokanson said. “I would like to thank our National Guard service members, and their families and employers who make their service possible. While the last 12 months have been unprecedented, we continue to respond to every mission, both here and at home – and overseas – living true to our motto: ‘Always Ready, Always There!’”

As of this morning, more than 32,700 National Guard members are supporting homeland operations at the direction of their governors. The current number includes activations for COVID-19 and civil disturbance missions. 

Presently, there are more than 65,400 Guard men and women engaged in homeland and overseas missions. More than 21,300 National Guard professionals continue COVID-19 response efforts at the direction of their governors in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

With nearly 440,000 soldiers and airmen across 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, the National Guard has a deep bench of experience and capabilities to call upon. At the National Guard’s historic activation peak on June 6, 2020, roughly 120,000 Guard members were engaged worldwide.


Delaware Army Guard on duty in DC to support inauguration

More than 200 Delaware Army National Guard soldiers are on duty in Washington, D.C., to support the 59th presidential inauguration. (https://ngpa.us/11668)

“I'm very proud of the Soldiers that have come out here and taken on this mission,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Leighton of the Delaware Army Guard’s 721st Troop Command. “A few days ago they were at their jobs or attending classes, and they got the call that they were needed in D.C. and they stopped everything and left their families to support D.C. and their efforts.”

Soldiers were deployed on short notice to Washington, but arrived as fast as they could. As of Jan. 13, they join about 7,000 additional Guardsmen in to the District of Columbia from six other states to support the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden Jan. 20. That number is expected to increase.

“Our presence here means something,” said Army Pfc. Quentin Busch, of the Delaware Army Guard’s 160th Engineer Company, who is on his first deployment since joining the Guard in 2019. “We’re here to work together and to make sure there’s peace here.”


Indiana Guardsmen take on new COVID-19 vaccination mission

Approximately 150 Indiana National Guard members and Indiana Department of Health officials will help distribute, transport and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to Hoosiers across the state. (https://ngpa.us/11670)

“We go when we’re called, and now this new assignment to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccine will be another integral cog to turn the tide in our favor against the coronavirus,” said Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, adjutant general, Indiana National Guard.

Guardsmen will come from the ranks of those already involved in the pandemic battle on missions at long-term care facilities and testing sites.

Ten teams of medical- and general-support Guard members and health department personnel will transport the Moderna vaccine in health department vehicles.

Additionally, as of this morning, 16 states and territories – Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee – are utilizing their National Guard to actively administer COVID-19 vaccines to the civilian population.

A repository of National Guard Bureau Press releases are available online at https://www.nationalguard.mil/Resources/Press-Releases/. For information regarding this press release, please send an email to the National Guard Bureau Media Operations desk at ng.ncr.ngb-arng.mesg.ngb-media-desk-owner@mail.mil.