National Guard members from Florida providing Inauguration Day security
There are tens of thousands of National Guard troops in the nation’s capital for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The effort required to coordinate all those troops is massive, especially with all of them on such high alert.
The 600 soldiers and airmen from Florida are working 24 hours a day. Their main duty is securing the National Mall and the monuments. Each shift starts with an update on the latest threats.
“We are kept up to date through… here in the capital, [at] any time, there’s a slew of different intelligence agencies, so that information does trickle down to the soldiers,” said Capt. Alexander Emrich. “So we do update them on any immediate threats as well as any more conceptual threats.”
Emrich is an infantry company commander. He can’t say his company’s exact assignment for reasons of operational security, but says they are ready for anything.
“If everything goes peacefully and normal, we’re simply pulling security, and in case anything else happens, we have the equipment, the training and the readiness to support the local law enforcement, local agencies, to ensure that everything is maintained,” Emrich said.
Emrich knows today is special.
“It’s a historic day, it’s not every day that—personally, both me and I speak for my soldiers, too—that you get to be there during a historic day like the inauguration,” Emrich said. “So to be able to be here, to be on the Mall area during the inauguration, that itself… we’re very happy to be here.”
It’s been quiet so far, but, all of the National Guard will be on duty through the inauguration. The hard part for the Florida contingent: staying warm, as Wednesday started with sleet and rain. But after the event is over—safely, everyone hopes—they’ll be on their way home. They just don’t know what day yet.