National Guard

Mass. Sending 700 National Guard Members to Washington

They are part of a mission requested by the Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau and the Secret Service

Just days after 500 Massachusetts National Guard members returned home after helping to provide security for last week's inauguration, the state announced it is sending 700 Guardsmen to Washington, D.C., to support the U.S. Secret Service.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Monday approving up to 700 Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard personnel for the mission, which was requested by the Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau and the Secret Service.

The soldiers will be traveling to Washington over the coming days and are expected to return to the state on Feb. 23.

No further details on the reason for their deployment was released, but the state said it is separate from the personnel who served in support of the inauguration.

Baker's office said the activation will not interfere with the National Guard's ability to respond to and assist with emergencies here in Massachusetts.

Kevin Quinn's son, a medic who has been helping COVID-19 patients, was a member of the National Guard sent to Washington, D.C.

The military newspaper Stars and Stripes has reported that up to 7,000 National Guard troops could remain in Washington through March 12 because of concerns of more violence after the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of people supporting then-President Donald Trump.

State public safety officials said that the soldiers and airmen who are traveling will undergo pre-departure health screenings and COVID-19 tests and will be required to wear masks. They will also be housed in individual rooms while deployed to the D.C. area, to reduce virus transmission risks.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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