The Alaska National Guard deploying to Washington, D.C. to guard the incoming president during the inauguration.
But it’s typical for Alaska to send National Guardsmen — as a custom, they come from every state during inaugurations.
About 8,000 National Guard members were present during President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017. There were 47 from Alaska.
This time, it will be over 15,000 being flown in, with about 80 from Alaska, according to official reports, as the federal government is worried after the violent attacks at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the day the Electoral College was certified by the Senate.
“This is about ensuring the safety and security of all Americans attending next week’s presidential inauguration,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “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.”
The U.S. National Park Service has closed the Washington Monument and the Mall since Jan. 11 until after the inauguration, saying there have been credible threats of violence. The Mall may be closed for weeks, it said.
“Groups involved in the January 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021,” NPS wrote on its website.
General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau wrote:
“Right now, we have approximately 6,200 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 6 states and the District of Columbia on the ground in the NCR supporting civilian authorities.
“We have received support requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police, and Park Police, and have been authorized to provide up to 15,00 Guard members to meet current and future inauguration support requirements.
“To date, our troops have been requested to support security, logistics, liaison, and communication missions.
“In case you are not already aware, the National Guard has a long and proud history of inauguration support and the forefathers of today’s National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and we have been part of every inauguration since.”
Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead of the Alaska National Guard wrote that about 80 airmen and soldiers volunteered to go, and most would depart Alaska Sunday, Jan. 17 aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 168th Wing at Eielson Air Force Base on a direct seven-hour flight to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
They will provide crowd and traffic management in and around the nation’s capital, as well as communications, logistical, medical and public affairs support, she said.
Activating volunteers and scheduling aircraft to deploy to the East Coast from Alaska requires extensive logistical planning and coordination, and this request to support was expedited in only two days, Olmstead wrote.
“Our Soldiers and Airmen are ready to come to the state’s or nation’s call,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, and commissioner for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Always ready, always there is ingrained in us; we are ready to serve in times of need.”
The FBI has also sent memoranda to law enforcement agencies across the nation, warning that armed protests are planned for D.C. and “all 50 state capitols.”
Photo credit and caption: Members of the 176th Security Forces from Alaska Air and Army National Guard pose for a photo with TSA leadership at a checkpoint they are providing security for, near the Washington Monument, on Jan. 20, 2017. Soldiers and Airmen from the National Guard are supporting local and federal partners to ensure a safe and secure 58th Presidential Inauguration. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Cory Grogan)