News emerged last week that a member of the National Guard who was sent to Washington following the Capitol unrest on Jan. 6 died due to an apparent medical emergency, and that individual’s identity has been now released.
According to the Washington Examiner, Spc. Justin Grennell, 26, was found unresponsive in his hotel room while off duty in D.C. on March 11 and subsequently pronounced dead.
Hailing from Marcellus, New York, Grennell was discovered by his roommate, who summoned emergency services and administered CPR while waiting for help to arrive. Sadly, Grennell was unable to resuscitated, and his death is currently under investigation by local authorities.
In response to the service member’s untimely demise, Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, adjutant general of New York expressed his condolences to those affected by the tragedy, saying:
All of us in the New York National Guard are deeply saddened by the death of this young soldier. When our State and Nation called, he stepped forward and enlisted. Following the attack on our nation’s Capitol on January 6th he selflessly deployed to Washington, D.C.
Our thoughts are with his family in this most trying time.
The Examiner further noted that Grennell enlisted in Army National Guard in his home state back in 2014 and assisted with COVID-19 response efforts in 2020. He was the recipient of multiple awards during his time in service.
Last week, the Defense Department announced that thousands of Guard troops would remained posted to the Capitol until late May in a move that was requested by the U.S. Capitol Police, as CBS News noted. However, their continued presence in D.C. is attracting growing criticism from lawmakers and military officials alike, as are the expansive stretches of fortified fencing and barricades surrounding the Capitol complex.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opined with regard to troop levels, “I think we’re way overreacting to the current need,” adding:
I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol with all this razor wire around the complex.
It reminds me of my last trip to Kabul.
Also standing in opposition to these troops’ continued deployment is the National Guard Association which, according to the Examiner, is also calling for the mission to end. Speaking to the outlet last week, Arizona Adjunct General, Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire declared:
This enduring requirement of having them around the city, I think it’s completely inappropriate at best, illegal at worst.
Unfortunately, until the Democrats are willing to let go of the false narrative of an ongoing threat of violent insurgency at the hands of their political opponents, Washington may continue to resemble an occupied zone for quite some time.