SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois Governor Pritzker is deploying about 200 members of the Illinois National Guard to help secure the 59th Presidential Inauguration next week in Washington.
According to the Governor's Office, the District of Columbia requested additional support from the Guard in advance of the upcoming event.
“In the wake of the recent incident at the Capitol, ensuring a peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration is of the utmost importance,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Illinois National Guard is renown for its exemplary soldiers and airmen and I am proud to have them represent Illinois alongside other service members during the upcoming presidential inauguration.”
Lt. Col. Brad Leighton, the Illinois National Guard's Public Affairs Director, said the mission will be a support role.
"They will be augmenting the security that is there already. The lead agency for the mission is the Secret Service. We will be augmenting police forces there, supporting the local police forces," he said.
About half of the Illinois National Guard members will come from the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s 33rd Military Police Battalion, which has units in Bloomington, Springfield, Freeport, and the north suburbs.
In addition, a small medical team is being activated to support the Military Police.
About 45 Security Forces Airmen will be activated to support the Presidential Inauguration. Another 30 Airmen from the Illinois Air National Guard will be activated to provide communication, logistics, and religious support.
“Supporting the presidential inauguration is a great opportunity for the Illinois National Guard to be part of history and represent the state of Illinois,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard, in a statement. “Our Soldiers and Airmen are highly trained and I have full confidence in their abilities to support local and federal agencies as needed.”
Lt. Col. Leighton said it is routine for the National Guard to be deployed to the presidential inaugurations, though he admits this year's number is larger than usual.