Greater than 250 Indiana Nationwide Guard troops stay in DC – lawmakers say it’s time for them to return to Indiana
(The Center Square) – You were sent to Washington in January to guard the U.S. Capitol and ensure a smooth transition from one government to the next. But some Hoosiers wonder what else they are doing there.
As of this week, there are still around 250 Indiana National Guard troops in the country’s capital.
“The treatment of our men and women in uniform at Fort Pelosi was simply unacceptable. It’s time to send the troops home! Fort Wayne Republican Jim Banks tweeted Wednesday in response to news that members of the Michigan National Guard were being fed metal shavings and undercooked chicken.
But it’s not just the treatment of the troops that bothers Banks and others. The National Guard troops form a strong military presence in the capital. Soldiers patrol either side of a tall metal fence that surrounds the U.S. Capitol and Congress offices.
On Tuesday, Banks – the chairman of the Republican Studies Committee, the House’s internal Republican think tank – asked on Twitter, “Why is the People’s House still fenced?” Why is our capital still militarized? He commented on a tweet from a Fox News reporter that the officer in charge testified that there was no evidence that groups were planning to travel to Washington to protest or commit acts of violence.
The Indiana National Guard has a dual mission.
In peacetime, guardsmen and airmen are under the command of the governor and can be called up in emergencies.
In times of national emergency, they can be called up by the President as reserve forces for the US Army and US Air Force.
On January 13, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that he would send 625 Indiana National Guard members to Washington. It was a week after the January 6th storming of the Capitol and a week before Joe Biden was inaugurated as President.
More than 400 guardsmen and airmen returned to Indiana on January 25th to the Indiana National Guard base at Camp Atterbury. In a press release, the guard said it “helped control the crowd and traffic in the National Mall and near the White House” and “helped ensure a peaceful transfer of power”.
But about 250 members of the Indiana National Guard remained in Washington, along with about 5,000 other guardsmen from around the country.
When asked what the mission of the remaining troops is, Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry, the Indiana National Guard’s public affairs officer, replied in an email that the troops “provide security and act as eyes and ears for civil authorities “.
He said the Indiana Guardsmen in Washington were made up of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 81st Troop Command, and the 219th Engineer Brigade. All three units are part of the Indiana Army National Guard.
They are supposed to “return in mid-March,” Lowry said.
The Indiana National Guard’s Task Force DC mission, which began Jan. 14 and ended Jan. 28, totaled nearly $ 1.8 million, according to the Guard. This included pay and allowances for members of the Indiana Army National Guard and Air National Guard, and $ 331,033 for military operations and maintenance.
That money, Lowry says, will be reimbursed with federal funds through the DC National Guard.
The Indiana National Guard, he says, has been unable to provide an estimate of the total amount spent to date or an estimate of the total mission by mid-March.