The Oklahoma National Guard is gearing up to send soldiers to our nation’s capital to help ensure a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
Oklahoma’s 350 to 400 troops will be the largest contingent of Oklahoma National Guard soldiers ever sent to Washington for an inauguration.
“Overall, that mission will be protection, protecting our elected officials going in and out of that building and people going in that building on official capacity,” Oklahoma National Guard Major General Michael Thompson said.
By next Wednesday, Thompson said around 20,000 Air and Army National Guard soldiers from across the country will be in Washington D.C. That includes armed Oklahoma soldiers, prepared for anything.
“We are not trying to be hysterical; I wouldn’t feel good about sending those soldiers there without the means to protect themselves,” Thompson said.
There are still many details yet to be ironed out, like where the Oklahoma troops will be housed.
“We’ll stay where we stay and we’ll live where we live, but the important thing is that we’re there to protect that Capitol and the people that are assigned to it,” he said.
The major general said while the guard is ready to do what it takes to ensure a peaceful transition of power; the whole situation is regrettable.
“It’s saddening to me that we have to put our Capitol behind a 9-foot fence and surround it with members of the Oklahoma, and the United States National Guard, thousands of them to safeguard our Capitol,” Thompson said. “I just wish things hadn’t escalated to the point that they are now.”