WASHINGTON – Soldiers with the Michigan Army National Guard’s 177th Military Police Brigade have been on duty in the nation’s capital since the presidential inauguration and remain in support of federal and local authorities.
Additional Michigan Army Guard troops arrived recently to augment those already in place.
“Our role is to provide defense support to civilian authorities,” said Capt. Dan Ramos, commander of the Michigan Army Guard’s 46th Military Police Company, adding that his unit will primarily provide security at areas throughout D.C.
The Michigan Guard members traveled to Washington via military and contracted aircraft. Soldiers already on the ground welcomed the new arrivals, who joined about 7,500 Guard members from around the country who are in Washington assisting.
“We completed a perimeter walk as well as a site reconnaissance of the Capitol grounds,” said Ramos. “Later tonight, the 46th MP Company will be assigned an area of responsibility. Knowing the lay of the land is important for any operation.”
Newly arrived Michigan Army Guard members also received additional training based on the needs of the mission.
“The training gives everyone a broad perspective of the type of mission we’re doing here,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Bokmiller, a squad leader with 46th MP Company. "I like interacting with Soldiers from different parts of Michigan and other states. We’re all supporting the same cause here in D.C.”
Counterparts with the Michigan Army Guard’s 507th Engineer Battalion and the 156th Expeditionary Signal Battalion also participated in the training. The military police Soldiers assisted their engineer and signal counterparts with critical site security and the general duties expected of them while on the mission.
“Many individual skills go into making the mission successful,” said Ramos, and the Soldiers are “working together as a group to prevent entry into restricted areas.”
Ramos said there are peaceful protests taking place in Washington. Soldiers on duty are there to ensure those who want to protest can do so peacefully.
For the Michigan Soldiers, the mission has gone smoothly.
“During President Biden’s inauguration, our Michigan military forces provided outstanding assistance to D.C.-area law enforcement,” said Col. Chris McKinney, commander of the 177th MP Brigade. “We will diligently stand-up the units who just arrived to augment and continue this support.”
McKinney oversees all military personnel assigned to the Capitol, including service members from 19 states and territories. Successfully providing that support comes down to two things, said McKinney.
“We will protect critical Washington, D.C., infrastructure while making our loved ones back in Michigan proud,” he said.
About 26,000 National Guard men and women were on duty during inaugural activities, conducting security, communication and logistical missions.