'Maintain vigilance:' National Guard security troops nap in the Capitol

Members of the U.S. National Guard arrive at the U.S. Capitol on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Pentagon is deploying as many as 15,000 National Guard troops to protect President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, amid fears of new violence.
Members of the U.S. National Guard arrive at the U.S. Capitol on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Pentagon is deploying as many as 15,000 National Guard troops to protect President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, amid fears of new violence. Photo credit Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Yes, hundreds of National Guard troops were spotted this morning napping on the floor of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. but just about any veteran knows getting rest where you can is not unusual.

Wednesday morning social media began to fill with photos of National Guard troops curled up or stretched out across the tiles of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, positioned between the House and Senate and the Capitol building itself. They leaned against pillars, used backpacks and stairs as pillows and napped beneath busts of former presidents, their weapons close at hand.

National Guard officials said at least some of them are likely waiting on lodging assignments as the Guard staffs up in the Capitol region following the assault on the Capitol last week and potential further violence as Congress moves forward with impeachment proceedings and President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

"The short answer is duty and resilience. It is not out of the ordinary for soldiers and airmen, especially for MP and security forces units to sleep when and whereever possible to maintain vigilance at their posts," National Guard Bureau spokesman Air Force Maj. Matt Murphy told Connecting Vets Wednesday morning.

"With authorization for up to 15,000 troops to be in the Capitol region on duty and hundreds arriving daily, there are logistics involved and the particular group photographed ... may be awaiting their lodging assignments," Murphy said.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett. Sign up for the Connecting Vets weekly newsletter to get more stories like this delivered to your inbox.