Michigan National Guard
Story by Capt. Joe Legros
WASHINGTON – Soldiers with the 46th Military Police Company, 177th Military Police Brigade, Michigan Army National Guard, arrived at the U.S. Capitol to provide security immediately following the presidential inauguration that took place on January 20. U.S. Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies have requested their assistance in protecting key D.C.-area government buildings.This is an historic and unprecedented operation with National Guard units from 20 states and territories converging on the nation’s capital. Since the inauguration, over 26,000 servicemembers, including both the Army and Air National Guard, representing several different military occupational specialties, have served in Washington.“Over multiple days, we’ve assisted non-MPs with crowd control training,” said Spc. Kyle Moore with the 46th MP Co. “We teach basic fundamentals of riot shield use, utilizing different formations and tactics. It’s important for everyone to understand the basic function of the MP mission here.”Along with engineers, chemical Soldiers, signal troops and infantrymen, the MPs provide operational, strategic and tactical leadership. Despite this military police-centric security mission, Moore shared how the combined, joint dynamic has been mutually beneficial thus far.“Having other specialists here with us is great,” said Moore. “Everyone brings different skill sets that can help us accomplish the mission. For instance, we have learned several things from our engineer and chemical counterparts. Aspects such as structural integrity and commonly used chemical agents are golden nuggets to add to our knowledge base.”Moore has served in the Michigan National Guard for almost six years and lives with his wife in Muskegon, Michigan. He is a police officer with the Hart Police Department, adding that his Guard experience continues to help him with his civilian life, both at home and on the job.“Working with people of different backgrounds has built my character,” shared Moore. “As a police officer, it’s important to make connections and communicate effectively. Military police training directly translates into my civilian career.”Moore followed in his family’s footsteps by joining the military. His grandfather flew B-17 bombers in WWII before coming home after 21 successful missions over a three-year period.“When I first joined the National Guard, I was young and wasn't sure what I was getting into,” shared Moore. “I never thought I would be called into action this much, to this level of support. But now that I’ve been serving awhile, I really enjoy the experience.”With this being his first time in D.C., Moore said he initially felt apprehensive, not knowing how people would respond to the National Guard’s presence in the capitol region.“I wasn't sure what to feel at first; it was all surreal,” he shared. “But I am proud to serve and be part of something that will be in history books for years to come. This is the reason why I wanted to serve, to be called upon to help my country.”This is not the first time Moore has deployed in service of his country. A little over a year ago, his unit deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2019 and 2020, over a nine-month period.“My role was primarily area security,” said Moore. “It was my only deployment outside the U.S. My favorite aspect was how it expanded my perspective of how different forces work together in a joint environment. There were service members from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp all working together on the same mission.”Almost immediately upon returning home, nearly 300 Michigan National Guard MPs from the 46th MP Co. and the 1775th MP Co., both under the 177th MP Bde., traveled to Wisconsin where they provided support to Milwaukee, Kenosha and surrounding communities. Specifically, they conducted critical site security and stood ready with a quick-reaction force to support local law enforcement in case of non-peaceful civil disturbances.Reminiscent of their role in D.C., Michigan MPs served as the lead element, forming Task Force Wolverine to provide guidance to Arizona and Alabama National Guardsmen who also responded to Wisconsin’s need for assistance.“The Kenosha mission was definitely great preparation for what we’re doing here in D.C.,” shared Moore. “I feel prepared to work with people from different branches, different states and units.”Pointing down the perimeter, Moore said, “Along this fence, we work closely with Soldiers and Airmen from New Jersey, Ohio and Indiana. We brave the cold, the snow, the rain together. It’s really a team effort.”Moore’s first line leader, Staff Sgt. Ty Hunter, with the 1776th MP Co., 177th MP Bde., agreed.“I really couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with,” said Hunter. “The experience here in D.C. has been wonderful.”Hunter shared these words as a bitterly cold rain instantly froze to his military overcoat. However, his enthusiasm for the mission still shined through.“The Guardsmen and U.S. Capitol Police have been working great together,” shared Hunter. “To have the Capitol building and Washington Monument as a backdrop also makes this mission special.”“The National Guard has consistently answered the call to serve our country, both at home and abroad,” said Col. Chris McKinney, commander of both the 177th MP Bde. and Joint Task Force Independence. “However, we couldn’t accomplish the mission without the combined efforts of multiple states and local civilian authorities.”With the Michigan National Guard as the lead element, JTF Independence is a combined, joint military effort to provide security for key buildings around Washington, D.C., and McKinney oversees those efforts.“I’ve always been told my career is what I make of it,” said Moore. “I’ve enjoyed my time in the Guard and this mission is a once in a lifetime event.”“After this experience,” he added. “I hope I can influence young Soldiers and give back to them in a positive way.”Following the 59th Presidential Inauguration, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting district and federal law enforcement agencies with security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support through mid-March.