The Florida National Guard will be sending 600 soldiers and airmen to Washington, D.C., for inauguration support, according to a Guard spokesperson.
Once there, they will fall under the direction of the D.C. National Guard. This follows the activation of thousands of guardsmen from other states in response to the siege at the U.S. Capitol last week.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been no formal request for Guard support at the state capitol in Tallahassee, said Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown. The Guard is prepared to assist in Tallahassee however needed and directed by the governor, Brown added. The FBI issued a bulletin Monday about possible armed marches on state capitols nationwide this weekend.
Florida guardsmen, like those in other states, have also been helping with coronavirus testing and vaccination sites.
“The past year has been an incredibly busy one for the soldiers and airmen of the Florida National Guard, and yet they continue to step up in an extraordinary way,” said Maj. Gen. James Eifert, the adjutant general of Florida, in a statement. “Once again, they are being called upon to leave their families and civilian jobs behind to support and protect their neighbors and homeland.”
As of Monday, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, reported that approximately 6,200 National Guard soldiers and airmen from six states and the District of Columbia were in Washington, D.C.
“We have received support requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police and Park Police,” Hokanson said, “and have been authorized to provide up to 15,000 Guard members to meet current and future inauguration support requirements.”
At a Wednesday press conference, Robert J. Contee III, acting District of Columbia police chief, said he expected at least 5,000 more guardsmen to come.
“I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards of beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia,” he said.
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