More than 750 soldiers and airmen with the Tennessee National Guard are part of the 25,000 member National Guard task force providing additional security to the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings in Washington D.C. surrounding the inauguration of the incoming 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, on Wednesday.
According to a news release, the Tennessee Army National Guard has provided more than 700 soldiers from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment headquartered in Knoxville as well as from the 194th Engineer Brigade headquartered in Jackson and the 230th Sustainment Brigade headquartered in Chattanooga.
According to the release, the soldiers will assist civil law enforcement and first responders with crowd management and security for the event.
In addition, 50 airmen from Nashville’s 118th Wing, Knoxville’s 134th Air Refueling Wing and 119th Cyber Operations Squadron are providing logistical, communications, food service and religious support.
“The ability for the National Guard to rapidly alert, mobilize and deploy this size of formation from all 54 states and territories in less than a week is unprecedented and a testament to the commitment to duty of our citizen soldiers,” Tennessee Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes said in the release.
“Furthermore, it demonstrates we are an apolitical organization that is responsive to the needs of our Nation in whatever mission is directed by our civilian authorities.”
Memphis’s 164th Airlift Wing and Knoxville’s 134th Air Refueling Wing transported the troops to the nation's capital.
And, even with the number of soldiers and airmen deployed, the National Guard reports that this represents less than 10% of available Tennessee National Guard members, many of whom are also supporting the state's COVID-19 response.
“The support to our Nation’s Capital will not reduce in any way the COVID response support we are currently providing to the Department of Health nor our ability to support other missions within our great state—this is why our more than 12,000 Soldiers and Airmen wear the uniform,” Holmes said.
It's not clear when the National Guard will return to Tennessee, but ABC News has reported that up to 6,000 troops could remain stationed in the nation's capitol for up to 30 days after the inauguration.