WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Members of the Kentucky National Guard will remain in Washington D.C. for a couple more months, according to a press release.
Stephen D. Martin, the director of public affairs for the Kentucky National Guard, said around 70 personnel will continue to help the U.S. Capitol Police and the Washington D.C. National Guard through May 23, 2021. This will be a reduction compared to the 150 personnel there now.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the extension of the National Guard deployment to combat potential threats earlier this week, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Before the extension was approved, troops were scheduled to return home on March 12.
Army Capt. Joshua Whitfield, officer in Charge of Task Force Legion, said the mission has been a great opportunity for those who volunteered to go.
“The opportunity to come to DC and serve is a once in a lifetime chance for many,” said Whitfield. “The ability to see the monuments, Arlington and so much American history on a single mission is unheard of."
Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel from across the country will continue to support the mission in Washington D.C.
Officials will work with Capitol Police to continue to reduce the number of Guard members "as conditions allow."
A total of 270 Kentucky National Guard members were deployed to Washington D.C. in January ahead of President Joe Biden's inauguration.
Members of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based out of Richmond, Ky., were tasked with watching over the property and people of the Capitol Building. Airmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing out of Louisville were in D.C. to support the Joint Information Center. Members from both of these groups started returning home last week.
The Kentucky National Guard also has around 200 members providing support to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.