WSYM — Michigan lawmakers at the state and federal level are raising concern – and passing resolutions – after members of the Michigan National Guard were served inedible meals.
Roughly 1,000 guardsmen and women from Michigan are still in Washington, D.C. protecting the nation’s capital after the Jan. 6 riots. Recent images show raw meat and chicken and food with pieces of metal in it were served to guard members.
“Raw hamburgers, raw chicken, and then with the addition of some metal that’s in there…there’s some speculation that they might be Brillo pad fragments,” said Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga, who visited with Michigan National Guard troops last week. “We cannot do this to our civilian soldiers. These men and women that have left their families left their jobs to come out here.”
Rep. Huizenga said a little over 50 National Guard troops have been treated for what he said was “some sort of gastrointestinal issue.”
In her press conference Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made clear she was also aware of the issues affecting the troops requested in January by the Capitol Police.
“We granted that request, but I made very clear at the time that my expectation was that our guardswomen and men would have appropriate, proper hotel accommodations and a per diem to ensure adequate meals,” she said.
Huizenga is suggesting exactly that – a stipend so troops can buy their own food over the course of their remaining days, which are few. The entire Michigan Congressional delegation penned a letter to the National Guard about the issues.
The Michigan troop’s deployment ends on March 12, and Gov. Whitmer had said she won’t extend their stay.
The Michigan National Guard sent FOX 17 this statement:
The Michigan National Guard finds the reports of undercooked and poorly prepared food provided to our service members in Washington, D.C. very concerning. The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable. As soon as the first reports were received, Governor Whitmer called Acting Secretary of the Army John E. Whitley to communicate Michigan’s concerns. Other Michigan senior leaders also engaged at the highest levels of the federal government to inform those in charge and to ensure that they knew of our displeasure with the conditions. Every assurance was given that the issue would be addressed and corrected.
The Post Inaugural Security Mission is a multi-state taskforce, including Michigan’s 1000 personnel, under the command and control of the Washington D.C. National Guard. A decision was made by the leadership in Washington, D.C., to provide contracted meal service for the troops there. This contract was awarded and is monitored by the National Guard Bureau. Michigan’s Adjutant General has communicated all concerns directly to the Chief of the National Guard, General Daniel R. Hokanson, who has engaged to address the reported shortcomings of the current food service contract.
The health and wellbeing of our Michigan National Guard service members is paramount to their success as they continue to serve in missions in the United States and around the globe. Senior leaders of the Michigan National Guard will remain personally engaged with this issue and will continue to push for accountability and a solution to the ill-prepared meals being served.
The troops are scheduled to return back to Michigan shortly after March 12, the agreed upon end date for this deployment.
They noted their authority is different than that of the federal National Guard, and headed by different leadership.