More than 200 PRNG citizen-soldiers heading to Washington, DC
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) Adj. Gen. José Reyes announced Thursday that more than 200 citizen-soldiers from the 92nd Brigade of the PRNG military police will be mobilized today for Washington, D.C.
The soldiers are heading to the United States capital to support law enforcement authorities in the District of Columbia and other parts of the U.S. mainland during Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joseph Biden Jr.
The PRNG members will be part of the security deployment that has taken over the U.S. Capitol compound following last week’s insurrection by mobs loyal to outgoing President Donald Trump. According to the media alert, the soldiers will depart from Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina.
In addition to assisting with the security efforts for the inauguration of President-elect Biden, the Puerto Rico National Guard actively collaborates with the Department of Health in vaccination and testing campaigns for COVID-19.
According to news reports, Washington Police Chief Robert Contee said Wednesday that the number of National Guard troops at the event, deploying from different states and territories, could exceed 26,000.
Officials had initially informed up to 20,000 soldiers would be needed, but Thursday afternoon said the final number increased due to additional requests from local law enforcement agencies.
According to US media, at press time there were approximately 7,000 members of the US National Guard in Washington, and thousands more were on the way. Authorities said between 3,000 and 4,000 of those members of the Guard were armed. Pentagon officials approved requests for some soldiers to be armed, specially members of the National Guard stationed near the US Capitol.
The New York Times reported that throngs of armed, camouflage fatigue-clad members of national guards from the mainland ringed around the Capitol and lined its halls on Wednesday, with weapons, helmets and backpacks stacked seemingly in every corner of the complex.
The militarized presence provided a sobering backdrop to the House chamber as a majority of lawmakers moved to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection on the Capitol.