America’s Guard: Abused in D.C.

Following the so-called “insurrection” on January 6th when the U.S. Capitol Building was illegally stormed and entered by out-of-control persons objecting to the national election outcome, and then met by woefully (inexcusably) undermanned Capitol security forces, the call went out across the nation for National Guard troops to secure and protect the Capitol during the upcoming January 20th inauguration of the new president.  Over 30 states (including Georgia) responded by immediately dispatching more than 20,000 National Guard citizen-soldiers, men and women, for United States Capitol security duty.  These troops were heading into an unknown environment, and a predictably hazardous one, very possibly life-threatening, based on the predictions of definite danger from the nation’s intelligence services.

America’s Guardsmen arrived as ordered and proceeded to spread out and man duty stations surrounding the Capitol, perhaps elsewhere unidentified, to do their best to prevent the predicted worst.  Based on the events of January 6th, and concurrent intelligence sources, this might well prove to be an assignment in the face of an actual domestic battle.  Lives on both sides could well be on the line.

With our Guard at the ready, January 20th, inauguration day, arrived.  But the highly anticipated armed and dangerous mass of protesters did not!  One Guardsman recalled never seeing a single protester during the entire two-weeks on duty!  Either D.C.’s intelligence was terribly flawed or, given the huge (and armed) Guard presence, protesters cancelled their Capitol visit (wise choice) and perhaps some of the same or others chose, instead, to take out their anger and aggressions on metropolitan areas within Washington State and Oregon, producing non-peaceful destructive “demonstrations,” yet again.

So then, where did that leave our, in hindsight, clearly an overkill number of National Guard soldiers?  Well, apparently, for much or all of their two weeks on duty, Guardsmen had been taking rest (and overnight sleep?) breaks within the halls of Congress and adjoining legislative office buildings.  Not great accommodations, but at least indoors.  No reports of how many, if any, of our soldiers were treated to actual nighttime hotel stays.  One would hope.

Then, on Thursday, the day after the critical, feared and targeted inauguration festivities, their usefulness apparently deemed to be over, our Guard men and women were suddenly advised that they could no longer rest within the Capitol and legislative buildings, but rather, would have to move to adjourning underground, and unheated parking garages (you may have noticed, it’s winter in D.C., and elsewhere within the continent).  There they would fine no internet and, much worse, typically a single bathroom for 1,000 or more soldiers.  Who gave the order to disrespect the Guard in this manner?  Allegedly, it was the Capitol Police, yet to be fully confirmed (if ever).  You see, we could just no longer stand to have all these soldier- types lounging or sleeping within the elite, pristine halls of Congress.  No, that simply would not do, now that the danger they came to face and defend against had past.

Remarked one unidentified Guardsman, reacting to their newly enforced, far less hospitable quarters: “Yesterday, dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands, and thanking us for our service. Within 24-hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage.  We feel incredibly betrayed.”  We’ll likely never know where the original order came from to move our troops to parking garages.  Issued by Capitol Police, yes, as it’s been reported, but then who actually initiated the order?

Federal legislators were, thankfully, quick to react in defense of our troops.  Said Senator Tim Scott (R-SC): “Our troops deserve the utmost honor and respect for securing the Capitol and defending democracy this week.  This is unconscionable and unsafe.  Whoever’s decision this was to house our National Guardsmen and women in underground parking lots must be held accountable.” Doubtful that accountability will every happen or that we’ll ever hear about it, if it does.

Across the political aisle, combat military veteran, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) responded: “Unreal. I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers who’ve been asked to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building.  I’m demanding answers.  They can use my office!”

Republican House Leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy, reacted to the order by pointed a political finger: “Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot?  They deserve to be treated with respect and we deserve answers.”  Responding to the ridiculous order, and despite the seeming outrage expressed by many legislators, another anonymous Guardsman expressed his feelings this way: “It’s (messed) up, because it just shows how politicians really feel about the National Guard. Leaving our families for the last two weeks to come down here…it’s certainly important and historic, but the day after inauguration, you kick us literally to the curb? “

When word of our Guard men and women on special duty in D.C., being dispatched effectively to servant’s quarters from the previous floors in those really important (heated) congressional buildings where they had apparently become an irritant to some, Governors didn’t’ hesitate to order their state’s Guardsmen home, in particular the Governors of Texas and Florida.  Other state executives soon followed.  It appears that five-thousand Guard troops will be ordered to remain in D.C., some are saying until March! It is certainly hoped that these now reduced in number men and women will be housed in D.C. hotels, and not in building hallways, so as to be treated like the vital, committed, and skilled resources to our states and nation they truly are.  And, most of all, it is hoped that this recent episode is not in any way indicative of how the Biden Administration intends to look upon, and treat, our military.

Wrote conservative columnist Bronson Stocking, reporting for, about the overall mis-use, or lack of use, of our Guardsmen to help deal with disturbances beyond the capability of local law enforcement: “Of course, we could have used the Guard to quell the violent rioting by leftists that went on night after night for months last year, encouraged and defended by Democratic lawmakers. But Democrats only want the Guard to make the threat of right-wing violence appear worse than it is.  It’s no wonder Guardsmen feel used.”

The vast majority of our D.C.-deployed Guardsmen and women should by now be back home, returning to both their families, and the jobs, they were under orders to leave.  As taxing and frustrating as the Capitol assignment was, even worse, somewhere between 100 and 200 Guardsmen have reportedly now tested positive for the COVID virus, clearly the result of having to be so close together (“packed like sardines”), whether in building hallways of especially within those underground parking garages. It is our hope that, once back home and under proper medical care, these heroes will all make a complete recovery from the virus.  America must continually thank the citizen-soldiers, men and women, of our National Guard, for their commitment to service and sacrifice for our states and nation, whenever and wherever called.  Whether at home or on-duty for the country, our states and nation would be far less safe and secure without these great dedicated, and courageous Americans in uniform.


(Guardsman, Scott, and Duckworth quotes via, Cortney O’Brien, 1-22-21; McCarthy and anonymous Guardsman quotes via, Jeff Schogol, 1-22-21, and Jared Keller, 1-21-21;  Stocking quote via, Bronson Stocking, 1-21-21; “Packed like sardines” quote via, Leon Wolf, 1-22-21).