Deployment of National Guard Soldiers to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Biden was frustrated with a combination of logistical issues and negative media surrounding the conditions the soldiers were depicted in. While the soldiers carried out their mission without complaint, media coverage depicted conditions which caused politicians to publicly raise questions.
The National Guard responded by stating that appropriate lodging would be provided for all 25k personnel and insisted the soldiers sleeping on the ground were only resting between shifts. However, it was later discovered that many units were sleeping in various locations such as parking garages and tennis/basketball courts. Many individuals from various units stated they were not provided COTs, or they were taken earlier in the week, contrary to what the Pentagon stated in their official release.
Sources state that leadership had been “hiding people in the basements of buildings” due to the media fallout and official National Guard response. Many of the soldiers also stated there was a severe lack of toilets, either in indoor restrooms or porta-potties.
As of January 22nd, the entire contingent of Colorado Guard, to include the Army National Guard and Air Guard, have been locked down due to 26 rounds of missing ammunition. They will not be allowed to travel home until the ammunition is found or the counting error is corrected.
In the course of our investigation, a Nebraska State Guard FRAGO was sent to us which details the manner in which quarantined soldiers will be handled. The date of the FRAGO is 21JUL2020, however we were told it is still in place.
The FRAGO states that soldiers who are quarantined due to being asymptomatic (no noticeable symptoms) are to have their orders amended to date of quarantine and sent home. This would mean that any Nebraska Guardsmen who contracted COVID in D.C., but was asymptomatic, would have their orders changed to reflect the date of quarantine and sent home. If their condition were to deteriorate and require medical care, they would not be covered by TRICARE since they’re no longer on active duty and would be required to cover the costs through their own insurance provider.
This FRAGO leads us to believe there may be other State Guards who have similar policies. While our soldiers have performed admirably in their mission, transparency is warranted for senior leadership and what they lead the public to believe, and these soldiers should not be rewarded for living in cramped quarters, potentially contracting COVID, by simply being dismissed without treatment upon completion of the mission. They deserve better.