ARKANSAS, USA — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson approved the mission to deploy 500 Soldiers and Airmen to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration following a violent attack on Capitol hill by a mob of President Trump supporters earlier this month.
Beginning on Jan. 17, the Arkansas National Guard will mobilize and deploy approximately 500 Soldiers to Washington, D.C., primarily from the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade based in Northwest Arkansas and Airmen from the 189th Airlift Wing, all expected to return home before the end of the month.
The 59th Presidential Inauguration, like all presidential inaugurations, is considered a National Special Security Event (NSSE), and the preparation for an NSSE is a cooperative effort among federal, state and district agencies.
The U.S. Secret Service, the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising and implementing security for National Special Security Events, requested support from the National Guard.
Arkansas Guardsmen will work alongside several other states’ National Guard units, the D.C. Metro Police, the U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Capitol Police and the Secret Service.
“Being in the Guard is about service. Service to one’s State and their Nation. We’re sending some of our very best to support Inauguration Day activities,” said Maj. Gen. Kendall Penn, Arkansas National Guard’s Adjutant General. “Priority No. 1 is to protect people and property, and our Guardsmen are trained very well to do just that.”
The requested missions include assistance with Traffic Control and Access Control Points, Traffic Management, Metro Station Security, Crowd Management, Patrol/Watch Stander on Outside Fencing, Facility Security at City Hall/National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial among others.
The Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing based at Little Rock Air Force Base will provide C130H aircraft to transport the Guardsmen to Washington, D.C.
National Guard members from around the country are headed to Washington following a deadly mob riot on Capitol Hill by pro-Trump supports on Jan. 6. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died due to the violent actions by the mob. The heated moment was fueled by months of false statements by President Trump and his allies saying the election was "stolen" from him. There have been no credible claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
The FBI has warned of armed rallies in Washington and at all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
The Arkansas National Guard squashed rumors online earlier this week that martial law was going to go into effect to change the outcome of the election.
President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021.