RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia National Guard (VNG) has about 1,000 troops on the ground in Washington, D.C. with another 1,000 expected to arrive in the coming days.
The VNG personnel are scheduled to be on duty through the Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.
The deployed troops are there to assist law enforcement agencies with security operations and by providing a safe environment for citizens to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and protest.
By the end of the weekend, nearly 6,200 are expected to join a force of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from neighboring states, according to a statement released Saturday.
“Once again our Soldiers and Airmen left their full-time jobs and loved ones to answer the call of duty to help keep their fellow citizens safe,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia.
“I am incredibly proud of how quickly and safely our personnel responded, and they have effectively integrated into supporting the civilian law enforcement security plan. We owe a special thanks to our families and employers because we couldn’t conduct our mission without their support.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam sent members of the Guard along with 200 Virginia State Police troopers to assist after the mob of President Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Northam authorized the support after a request from the mayor of Washington, D.C., Department of Defense, and National Guard Bureau officials asked multiple states to identify units available to support law enforcement and Washington, D.C. National Guard.
In addition to Virginia, soldiers and airmen from Guards in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York are providing support.
“We greatly appreciate the support from the entire National Guard team across the region to respond to law enforcement officers who needed help, and we are proud of our Guard members who supported the lead agencies in this mission,” said Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy in a news release Jan. 8.
The news release also explained the Department of Defense system is structured to require permission from the Secretary of Defense for out-of-state National Guard units to enter the National Capitol.
As VNG personnel are supporting the security effort in the nation’s capital, additional soldiers and airmen continue to support COVID-19 testing across the state and assisting the Virginia Department of Health with planning for administering COVID-19 vaccines.
Read the full statement from the Virginia National Guard here.