More than 130 troops from the Minnesota National Guard will head to Washington, D.C., to provide security and crowd control ahead of next week's inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
The Minnesota troops — airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing and soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry — will be part of a large security presence in the nation's capital since last week's assault on Congress by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump. The rioters violently forced their way into the Capitol building as Congress voted to certify Biden's election victory.
A beefed-up National Guard presence has been activated in Washington since last week's violence. Defense officials had activated 6,000 National Guard troops in the city as of Monday, according to news reports, and up to 10,000 will be activated by Saturday. Up to 15,000 National Guard troops will be activated in the city for Wednesday's inauguration. The 130 Minnesota troops are a relatively routine number for any presidential inauguration, said Lt. Col. Scott Hawks, state public affairs officer for the Minnesota National Guard.
"This is not unusual," he said of the number of Minnesota National Guard members who are making the trip.
It's part of a rotational assignment, he said. For some presidential inaugurations, the Minnesota National Guard has sent zero troops; for others, the Minnesota National Guard has sent as many as 350.
"National security events, like the inauguration, require rotational support from across the country to be successful," said Col. Scott Rohweder, director of operations for the Minnesota National Guard.