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Iowa National Guard sending 250 troops to Washington, D.C.

AP PHOTO Iowa National Guard Major General Benjamin Corell gives the Condition of the National Guard address in the House Chambers at the Iowa Capitol Building on Thursday.

DES MOINES — Iowa is sending 250 soldiers and airmen to Washington, D.C., in response to a call for additional support during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, the head of the Iowa National Guard said Thursday.

Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ben Corell said initially Iowa had planned to send 15 members of the 185th Refueling Wing to Washington but because of the attack on the Capitol last week, all states and territories have been asked to help.

“They’ve asked for increased support from all national guards, so in communication with the governor yesterday we came to the number of 250 additional Iowa National Guard that will move to the national Capitol region to support the inauguration,” Corell said.

Nationally, he said the guard presence was boosted from the originally planned 6,000 soldiers to more than 20,000 from all states and territories.

The Iowa soldiers’ mission isn’t yet clear and depends on what the authorities need when they arrive in Washington, he said.

Corell said he has also been in communication with Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens about security at the Iowa Capitol and was told at this point additional help isn’t needed.

With local law enforcement, Department of Public Safety and personnel from other state agencies, Capitol officials are confident they can maintain security, even if protests take place, Corell said, adding that he has forces trained, equipped and ready to respond if needed.

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