LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Hundreds of Nevada Army Guard members have left their civilian lives and jobs to head to Washington, D.C., to support local law enforcement in an effort to secure the Capitol and quell any violent protests ahead of the Presidential Inauguration.
"First of all, this is historic," said Nevada National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry.
Authorities say the total deployment to Washington, D.C., will include 21,000 troops from around the United States, which tops the current deployment of personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Between 200 and 300 Nevada Guard troops with the 1-221st Cavalry unit assembled at the Floyd Edsall Readiness Center, also known as the Clark County Armory, on Thursday to receive a briefing from commanders.
"The Nevada National Guard will ensure that this will be a great mission," added Maj. Gen. Berry.
On Sunday, Specialist Alexis Espinoza was alerted he and his fellow Nevada Guard members were being sent to the nation's capital.
The mission is not their full-time jobs.
"I work at the Bellagio as a front desk agent," explained Specialist Espinoza. "I also do professional photography -- cars, landscapes and portraits -- as well."
The deployment comes after deadly riots rocked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and concerns by authorities are growing that more demonstrations and protests could turn violent in the days leading up to President-elect Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
"My family is worried, mom and dad," said Sgt. Jalyn Todd with the 1-221st Cavalry unit.
"My dad was like, let me know when you get there," added Sgt. Todd.
The troops have quickly undergone intense riot, defense tactics training and weapon shooting refresher courses and qualifications.
Commanders say it was a massive undertaking over the course of a few days.
"We had to get everybody trained up and take them out of their civilian jobs. Get everybody qualified, double-check their wills, double-check all of their personal information," said Sergeant Major Zell Johnson, 1-221st Cavalry. "That’s a lot of work."
Commanders say the troops will help with anything from traffic control to security at points of entry for the Capitol grounds.
The troops received briefings on the use of deadly force and liability issues if they have to engage with threats or violent protesters.
The troops were instructed not to post anything to social media while deployed for safety and security reasons.