Jan. 23 (UPI) — National Guard troops that had been stationed in Washington, D.C., since the Capitol riot are heading back home this week following orders from several governors for their return.
On Thursday the National Guard Bureau issued a press release saying it is working with states to return troops to their homes.
The National Guard Bureau estimates that it will take five to 10 days to get troops home.
Some 26,000 troops from 50 states and three territories provided support for the presidential inauguration and 10,600 will remain on duty, so officials are coordinating the return of 15,000 others to their homes.
“Some agencies are requesting continuity of operations, additional support and recuperation time for their forces to regroup. Approximately 7,000 National Guard personnel are anticipated to provide that assistance through the end of the month,” the bureau said.
President Joe Biden apologized to the chief of the National Guard Bureau on Friday after troops who were sent to Washington, D.C., to provide security for his inauguration were kicked out of the U.S. Capitol building and ordered to sleep in a parking garage.
A spokesperson for the National Guard told The New York Times early Friday the troops were removed at the request of U.S. Capitol Police as Congress returned to session.
Capitol Police disputed that claim, but later Friday the two agencies issued a joint press release saying they are “united in the common goal to protect the U.S. Capitol and the Congress during this time.”
“The USCP and the National Guard have coordinated their efforts to ensure that National Guardsmen and women are stationed throughout the Capitol Complex are in appropriate spaces within Congressional buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, where they may take on-duty breaks,” the release said. “Off-duty troops are being housed in hotel rooms or other comfortable accommodations.”
The release also said the Guard appreciates “the continuous support of Congressional members who expressed concern for our National Guard men and women.”
Elected officials from both parties — and active at the state and federal levels — expressed outrage over the troops being lodged in a parking garage.