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Nebraska lawmakers respond to reports of National Guard sleeping in parking garage

More than 300 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were in Washington D.C., supporting...
More than 300 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were in Washington D.C., supporting federal and District authorities leading up to and through the 59th Presidential Inauguration.(Staff Sgt. Devlin Drew | Nebraska National Guard)
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 11:54 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2021 at 12:10 PM CST
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WASHINGTON — A day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration went off with only a handful of minor arrests and incidents, more than 15,000 National Guard members are preparing to leave Washington, D.C. and head home. That includes some members of the Nebraska National Guard, most of whom are expected to fly home over the next several days.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post and Politico reported that hundreds of Guard troops were forced out of areas of the Capitol they had been using for rest breaks and were relocated to a nearby garage. Photos of the troops in the garage drew outrage from lawmakers.

More than 300 Nebraska National Guard soldiers and airmen were in Washington, D.C. providing security and support for the inauguration. Friday, Maj. Scott Ingalsbe with the Nebraska National Guard said all their members have had hotel rooms to sleep in. However, Maj. Ingalsbe did say that some of them have had to lay in a parking garage during their breaks but not overnight. He stressed they’re being well taken care of.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska expressed his disgust when hearing that some guardsmen from other states had to sleep on the ground.

“These National Guardsmen and women put their lives and families on pause so that they could come defend our Nation’s Capitol. They’ve kept Washington safe, and the decision to kick them out of the Capitol and make them sleep in the parking garage is beyond insulting. I’m glad the decision was reversed, but I want to know who the heck made this terrible decision in the first place.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met with members of the Nebraska National Guard who traveled to Washington, D.C., to assist with security for the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

Friday, Sen. Fischer agreed that moving guard from other states out of the Capitol complex was unacceptable. “Glad to hear that those guardsmen have now been relocated back inside the Capitol for rest breaks,” Sen. Fischer said. “We cannot thank them enough for their service during this time.”

Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press/KOLN. All rights reserved.