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Guard Troops Head Home After Inaugural 01/22 06:17


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- After President Joe Biden's inauguration went off with 
only a handful of minor arrests and incidents, more than 15,000 National Guard 
members are preparing to leave Washington, D.C., and head home.

   The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard 
troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The 
bureau said the Guard is helping states with coordination and the logistics so 
that troops can get home.

   Meanwhile, The Washington Post and Politico reported that hundreds of Guard 
troops were forced out of areas of the Capitol they had been using for rest 
breaks and were relocated to a nearby garage. Photos of the troops in the 
garage drew outrage from lawmakers.

   Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, tweeted: "Just made a number of 
calls and have been informed Capitol Police have apologized to the Guardsmen 
and they will be allowed back into the complex tonight. I'll keep checking to 
make sure they are."

   After midnight, Duckworth tweeted an update: "Troops are now all out of the 
garage. Now I can go to bed." Politico reported that they had been allowed back 
into the Capitol.

   Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by 
the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security 
threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at 
Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the 
wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

   Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, 
monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely 
locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday's inaugural ceremony.

   The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the 
inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday.

   The Guard said that it may take several days to make all the arrangements to 
return the 15,000 home, but it should be complete in five to 10 days. Guard 
members will have to turn in equipment, make travel plans and go through 
COVID-19 screening.

   Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from 
the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through 
the end of the month.

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