Western New Yorkers among National Guard members working inauguration

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden is historic in so many ways.

His Vice President will be the first African American and woman and Asian to hold that office. Biden garnered more votes than any presidential candidate in history and unfortunately the most security.

The first armed attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years, two weeks ago, prompted the unprecedented turnout of National Guard and law enforcement surrounding the Presidential Inauguration.

Thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen deployed from around the country including a contingent of Western New Yorkers among the 12-hundred-plus guard members from New York.

“Even though we have done inaugural supports before, this is definitely the largest in scope and in size,” said Col. Richard Goldenberg, U.S. Army National Guard.

Goldenberg says the local guard members stationed in Washington are primarily military police and are well-trained to do their jobs.

“When it comes right down to it, the typical missions and tasks that we provide for our soldiers and airmen who are deployed to D.C., they have not changed that much dramatically. What has changed this year is simply the size of the force.”

Goldenberg says New York’s National Guard soldiers and airmen are often called upon to assist local authorities all over the world, which was the case in 2020.

Members of the guard have been instrumental in battling COVID-19, deployed to hospitals to support medical staff, and assisting in distributing COVID tests and vaccines.

Now, Goldenberg says they’re ensuring the safe and peaceful transfer of power the bedrock of American democracy.

“Their efforts to make sure that those who are arriving in our nation’s capital are provided safety and security for their movement around the city, as we welcome our next president, is of paramount concern.”

National Guard members are being called on to leave their homes, their jobs, and authorities say everyone is subject to a thorough background check by the FBI.

Tuesday, twelve members of the National Guard, not from New York, were removed from inauguration security.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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