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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

How our National Guard troops are being fed at the Capitol

National Guard troops stationed at the Capitol famously have had to nap on the building’s marble floors, but that’s not the worst thing about their working conditions. The food is.

Here’s a picture of today’s “breakfast” as passed along to me.

Some of the troops didn’t get this filling breakfast of an apple (at least it looks like a good apple!) and a gross chocolate chocolate-chip muffin in a brown bag until after 10 a.m.

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Here’s another meal, supposed to get a soldier through the day until dinner.

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That’s a pair of Pop-Tarts, an apple, a granola bar, and a Capri Sun. As one source put it, “Are we asking adults to guard the Capitol, or are we sending 10-year-old kids to camp for the morning?”

Dinner arrived, and here it was: A miniature sub from Jersey Mike’s and a bag of chips. (To be fair, sea salt and vinegar is the best flavor.)

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Last night’s dinner was mystery meat and mostly corn. At least it was hot barbecue, right? Sorry, by the time it was arrived, the troops say, it was ice cold.

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This is not only cruel, it’s also dumb. “Good food is the easiest motivator for soldiers that chains of command can take care of,” one former National Guard officer told me.

The troops down at the Capitol say the bad meals didn’t start on Day One. In early January, according to Maryland National Guard troops, the meals were fine. Shortly before the inauguration, though, things changed, and the cold, child-sized meals started arriving.

“Soldiers and Airmen have to go out on their own in the D.C. area and buy their own meals if nothing is donated,” one National Guard spouse reported, “mainly because the food delivered and provided by the National Guard is cold or not even worth eating. The breakfast and lunch portions look more like a snack for a toddler than a meal for an adult.”

The Guard has a duty to feed the troops decent food, and the units at the Capitol aren’t exactly cut off from supply lines. As one former officer put it, “You’re telling me that in Washington, D.C., during COVID that there’s a restaurant in town that wouldn’t do backflips to feed these troops?”

“The National Guard has failed every service member on the ground with their failure to provide adequate nutrition or check on what is being provided,” the spouse wrote me. “They are away from their homes, their families and their jobs, working long hours in the cold during a pandemic. The very least that should be done is to provide them with three adult-sized hot meals a day.”

The National Guard Bureau said it is not feeding the troops, but the D.C. National Guard is. “They are responsible for the feed and care of all the units,” at the Capitol, according to an NGB spokeswoman. As of press time, I hadn’t heard back from the D.C. National Guard.



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