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Alaska National Guard soldiers and airmen in DC for presidential inauguration

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 8:12 AM AKST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 8:18 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska National Guard soldiers and airmen are now in Washington, D.C. ahead of the Presidential Inauguration.

Due to continued weather delays, Alaska National Guard soldiers and airmen were not able to fly out of Alaska until Tuesday, according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead with the Alaska National Guard.

“Despite the fact that we were delayed, the entire team is in good spirits and is motivated to get to D.C and conduct the mission as we have been asked to do,” Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Grunst, troop non-commissioned officer in charge, said in a prepared statement.

The crew will assist the District of Columbia National Guard and federal civilian authorities with the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

The flight was originally scheduled for Sunday but was then delayed until Monday. Continued poor weather conditions forced officials to postpone the trip one more day, according to Olmstead.

More than 25,000 National Guard soldiers are expected to be in Washington D.C. to help with the inauguration, and about 80 Alaska National Guardsmen will be a part of them.

According to a release from the Alaska National Guard, the soldiers will help with things like crowd management, traffic control, and medical support, among other duties.

In the release, Gov. Mike Dunleavy released a statement saying in part, “This is about ensuring the safety and security of all Americans attending next week’s presidential inauguration.”

Nathan Pooler, a troop commander with the Alaska National guard said, “As Alaskans, but as national guardsmen, we all fell proud to support the inauguration and there are volunteers from all 54 states and territories, and so that’s really why it’s important that we’re all supporting the civilians on the ground.”

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