The Idaho National Guard sent approximately 400 Soldiers to Washington D.C. today to assist with guarding federal monuments, buildings and other property. The Soldiers will augment the D.C. National Guard and serve in support of the United States Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department.
Soldiers departed from Gowen Field, Pocatello and Spokane less than 25 hours after the mission was approved by Gov. Brad Little. Idaho is one of 11 states to send additional support to the nation’s capital.
“The key to being successful in this mission, and it’s a tough mission, is your professionalism,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander of the Idaho National Guard. He addressed the Soldiers before they departed from Gowen Field. “I have all the confidence in the world that this group in front of me, from the leadership down, are professional Idaho National Guardsmen.”
Idaho National Guardsmen are trained to protect life and to preserve property, peace and public safety while respecting the right of the American public to peaceably assemble.
“Whether responding to a crisis in Idaho or another state, the principles of the Idaho National Guard remain the same: to help local jurisdictions, city governments and state agencies ensure public safety,” said Garshak. “Regardless of where we are in the U.S., our role is to support civilian authorities and our personnel are trained to protect life, preserve property and ensure people’s right to peacefully demonstrate.”
The Idaho National Guard has deployed out of state in support of national emergencies in the past. From Hurricane Katrina in 2005, wildland fire suppression in Oregon and Washington in 2015, to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria recovery support in 2017, the Idaho National Guard has provided hundreds of Soldiers and Airmen over the last decade in response to national emergencies. More recently, the Idaho National Guard provided state emergency relief here at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.