Michigan National Guard
Story by Capt. Joe Legros
WASHINGTON – Soldiers with the Michigan Army National Guard’s 177th Military Police Brigade, based in Taylor, Michigan, have been on duty in the nation’s capital since the presidential inauguration and remain on duty in support of federal and district 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 the District.
The Michigan Guard members traveled to Washington via military and contracted aircraft. Soldiers already on the ground welcomed the new arrivals and immediately provided guidance on the situation and areas of interest.
“We completed a perimeter walk as well as a site reconnaissance of the [U.S.] 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 at hand.
“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 Co. "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 as well as the general duties expected of them while on 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 added that there are also peaceful protests taking place in Washington. Soldiers on duty are there to ensure those who desire 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 Bde. “We will diligently stand-up the units who just arrived to augment and continue this support.”
McKinney now serves as Task Force Independence Commander and oversees all military personnel assigned to the Capitol, which includes service members from nineteen different 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.”
More than 25,000 National Guard men and women were on duty conducting security, communication and logistical missions leading up to and through the 59th Presidential Inauguration. Additionally, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district and federal agencies through mid-March.