National Guard to Concerned Citizens: No Donations, Please. The Troops Are OK
When images of hundreds of National Guard troops slept on the hard floors of the US Capitol freaked online on Wednesday, the leaders of the Guard faced an unusual problem: an onslaught of Americans donating money and "comfort items" to these service members wanted to.
In a message posted on Wednesday evening, the guard issued a simple request: Please don't.
"In response to photos on social media and in the press today showing National Guards resting between shifts at the Capitol, many well-meaning and thoughtful citizens are organizing a collection of convenience items for the National Guard men and women in the District of Columbia are in support of the impending inauguration of the president, "the statement said. "Although we appreciate the many offers and people who take care of our soldiers and airmen, we are logistically not in a position to accept donations of any kind."
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Read on: Pentagon Authorizes Guard Forces Around Capitol Building To Carry Deadly Arms
Many looked at the pictures of sleeping troops, mistakenly thinking that the 15,000+ guards in DC were housed in the United States Capitol. But as Military.com reported earlier, that is not the case. Instead, the troops have secured rooms in local hotels as authorized under their Title 32 mobilization orders.
The guards sleeping in the Capitol had authorized breaks during their 12-hour shift, an official told Military.com.
While not on duty, the guards spend the night in local hotels as part of a Title 32 mobilization, putting the members of the guard under state control while receiving pay and benefits from the federal government.
"Also, please know that our National Guardsmen have adequate accommodation when they are not on duty. The photos that are circulating show them on duty in a designated resting place between the shifts," the guard said in a statement. "Being present is the first step in ensuring the safety of our citizens and our nation's Capitol. Our security guards work in shifts and rest when others can stand guard."
The Guard presence around the Capitol will continue until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20. After the siege of the Capitol on January 6 by pro-Trump protesters, troops from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania flooded into Washington DC and joined the fully activated DC National Guard.
Others are also taking steps to minimize the possibility of violent demonstrations. Accommodation platform Airbnb announced it would cancel all DC reservations around the inauguration, and other hotel providers are following suit.
Guards assigned to the district for the security of the Capitol were authorized to carry deadly weapons, the DC National Guard admitted Tuesday.
- Matthew Cox contributed to this report.
Related: Guard troops photographed naps in the Capitol were on recess, says Army official
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