500 Members Of Massachusetts' National Guard Deploy To D.C.

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — 500 members of the National Guard left Massachusetts for Washington D.C. Saturday ahead of this week's presidential inauguration.

Members of the 181st and 182nd infantry, two of the oldest units in the U.S., started boarding buses in Melrose at 9 a.m. bound for the Capitol.

They'll be joining more than 20,000 troops in D.C. in case of any civil unrest during inauguration week, protecting one of the nation's oldest tradition; a peaceful transfer of power.

It's a mission that hits close to home for Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who lives down the street from the Melrose National Guard Armory, and was in Washington when the Capitol was stormed on January 6th.

"It saddens me that it is necessary for these young soldiers to go to our nation's Capitol to ensure this tradition of a peaceful transition of power continues," Rep. Clark said.

Major General Gary Keefe said he also doesn't feel great about the circumstances.

"But I really thank them here, and I apologized," Maj. Gen. Keefe said. "I said 'I'm sorry I have to actually ask you to leave your families again, because our country is so broken right now we have to defend the Constitution.'"

The Massachusetts units will be responsible for protecting the Capitol building. They are bringing their weapons with them, but whether or not they'll be armed during this week's planned protests is yet to be determined.

WBZ NewsRadio's Matt Shearer reports:

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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