WASHINGTON — Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered the return of all New Hampshire National Guard soldiers from Washington, after news reports surfaced of soldiers spending the night in a Capitol-area parking garage, putting them in close quarters with moving cars, exhaust fumes and troops potentially infected with the coronavirus.
The Washington Post reported that National Guard troops were abruptly transferred from the Capitol cafeteria to the parking garage on Thursday without explanation. They spent the night sleeping on concrete.
Sununu, a Republican, said he ordered the immediate return of the New Hampshire National Guard troops.
“They did an outstanding job serving our nation’s capital in a time of strife and should be graciously praised, not subject to substandard conditions,” Sununu said in a statement Friday.
Members of the New Hampshire National Guard traveled to the nation’s capital to be part of the security force for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.
The group included 25 soldiers from the 160th Engineer Detachment and 25 airmen from the 157th Security Forces. An estimated 21,000 guardsmen from around the country were deployed to Washington, which was under tight security after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
President Biden on Friday called Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, to apologize, the New York Times reported.
First Lady Jill Biden visited some of the troops stationed outside of the Capitol on Friday afternoon and handed out chocolate chip cookies.