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WASHINGTON D.C. — Around 70 volunteer Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard and around 100 Soldiers from the Illinois National Guard have agreed to extend their support to the U.S. Capitol Police until around mid-May. 

This means around 80 Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard and around 400 Soldiers from the Illinois National Guard are returning home this week. 

According to Army Capt. Joshua Whitfield, officer in Charge of Task Force Legion, it was a great opportunity for those who volunteered to go, to not only serve their country but see the sights in the region as well.

“The opportunity to come to DC and serve is a once in a lifetime chance for many,” said Whitfield. “The ability to see the monuments, Arlington and so much American history on a single mission is unheard of. The history in Washington DC represents freedom and the American way of life and we all serve to preserve the freedoms our constitution guarantees us. TF Legion Soldiers overwhelmingly rose to the challenges of this mission and I’m very proud of them all.”

Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will stay at the Capitol, which is nearly half of the current support force across the entire National Guard.

Military officials says the decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness, according to a Department of Defense press release.

The press release says DOD officials will work with the U.S. Capitol Police to slowly reduce the number of National Guard members as conditions at the Capitol allow. 

Over the course of last week and this week, Kentucky guards members from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based out of Richmond, and Airmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing out of Louisville, will be on their way back to the commonwealth. 

The Illinois Army National Guard’s Chicago-based 108th Sustainment Brigade and its subordinate battalion, the North Riverside-based 198th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, provided the bulk of the Illinois National Guard force for the Washington, D.C. mission.