- More than a dozen soldiers on deployment have become ill – with some serious enough to be hospitalized – after reportedly being given undercooked and contaminated food
- Soldiers have blown the whistle on the sub-par food by sharing photos of pink chicken, uncooked beef and moldy food online
- One staff sergeant revealed dozens of meals had to be thrown out when metal shavings were found inside
- A group of lawmakers are demanding a new food vendor be brought in or troops be given a daily allowance
- Almost 5,000 troops continue to guard the Capitol amid fears of a fresh siege as sources say there is intel of a militia plot to breach the Capitol on March 4
- Some troops have been in DC for two months since the MAGA mob riot on January 6
- In January thousands of Guardsmen were forced to sleep on the floor of a packed parking garage
Members of the Michigan National Guard complain they have been forced to eat raw chicken, moldy bread and meals containing metal shavings while they remain on guard in Washington DC protecting the US Capitol from attack.
More than a dozen soldiers on deployment have become ill – with some serious enough to be hospitalized – after reportedly being given undercooked and contaminated food..
Soldiers have blown the whistle on the sub-par food supplied by to troops stationed in DC by a National Guard contractor. They shared photos of pink chicken, uncooked beef and moldy food with lawmakers and online while one staff sergeant revealed dozens of meals had to be thrown out when metal shavings were found inside dishes.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers are now demanding a new food vendor is brought in, or for troops to be given a daily allowance to buy their own food. Some are calling for guard members to be sent home altogether.
Almost 5,000 troops continue to guard the Capitol amid fears of a fresh siege as sources say there is intel of a militia plot to breach the Capitol on March 4 – the same day supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory believe Donald Trump will become president again.
For some soldiers, this means it is almost two months since they were first drafted in to the city following the MAGA mob riot on January 6 where Trump supporters broke into the Capitol in a violent siege that left five dead.
During their time protecting the seat of American democracy, National Guard members have endured substandard conditions, including being forced to sleep outside and put at risk of COVID.
Thousands of Guardsmen were forced to sleep on the floor of a packed parking garage back in January when they were told to stop taking their rest breaks inside the Capitol by a Capitol officer.
Meanwhile, hundreds of guard members tested positive for COVID-19 with insiders describing a failure by the National Guard to implement coronavirus testing and social distancing protocols evenly across the board.
In the latest saga around the treatment of the men and women deployed to the Capitol, National Guard members are complaining the food they are being given is inedible and unsafe, reported TV6.
Undercooked food left more than a dozen soldiers unwell including an unknown number who were taken to hospital as a result, one staff sergeant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told 7 Action News.
The guard member said the issue is not isolated, citing multiple occasions where dozens of meals were tossed due to the discovery of raw meat or other contamination.
Almost 75 meals were thrown out Sunday after metal shavings were found inside them while another 74 meals had raw beef in them, they said.
Aside from the poor – and sometimes dangerous – quality, the sergeant said troops are not being given enough food, with breakfast some days consisting of just a dinner roll and Sunny D ahead of a 12-hour shift.
Many guard members are said to be resorting to buying their own food because they don’t trust the food being provided to them.
Reports of the poor food has caused an uproar among lawmakers from both parties, with all 14 members of the Michigan Delegation in the House of Representatives sending a letter to Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Daniel R. Hokanson Tuesday.
The letter, led by Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District, demanded the National Guard void its contract with the current food supplier and either find another or for a per diem to be provided to troops.
It was signed by Debbie Dingell, Tim Walberg, Brenda Lawrence, Jack Bergman, Haley Stevens, Fred Upton, Elissa Slotkin, John Moolenaar, Dan Kildee, Peter Meijer, Andy Levin, Lisa McClain and Rashida Tlaib.
The bipartisan group hit out at the ‘unacceptable and inadequate quality of food’ that had ‘hospitalized’ some troops.
‘We understand that the decision was made to provide contracted meals to support the entire federal response stationed at the Capitol,’ the letter read.
‘However, it is clear that these contracted meals are poorly prepared, oftentimes inedible, and highly inadequate to support our soldiers. It is completely unacceptable that our men and women serving in Washington D.C. are being hospitalized due to the food they are being provided.
‘As Representatives of these service members, we request that either the current contract be voided and a new food provider be brought in or that the service members be provided with a per diem throughout their remaining time in Washington, D.C.’
Rep. Bergman said troops don’t expect a ‘5-star resort’ but what they have been served with is ‘an embarrassment’.
‘After visiting with our Michigan Guard troops in DC, I have heard from many over the past 48 hours regarding additional issues of contaminated and undercooked food being served,’ he said, per TV6.
‘This is unacceptable. Our troops don’t demand a 5-star resort or expensive food, but at a minimum, they deserve meals that are safe to consume.
‘This is an embarrassment for all those responsible for the care of our troops, and must be met with full accountability.’
Bergman called for the guard members to leave DC altogether saying t is ‘time to get our troops home to their families.’
The Michigan National Guard released a statement saying reports of undercooked and inadequate food was ‘very concerning’ and ‘unacceptable.’
‘The Michigan National Guard finds the reports of undercooked and poorly prepared food provided to our service members in Washington, D.C. very concerning. The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable,’ it read.
The guard said the issue was escalated to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who called Acting Secretary of the Army John E. Whitley ‘to communicate Michigan’s concerns’.
‘Other Michigan senior leaders also engaged at the highest levels of the federal government to inform those in charge and to ensure that they knew of our displeasure with the conditions. Every assurance was given that the issue would be addressed and corrected,’ the statement said.
Whitmer raised concerns about the issue almost two weeks ago on February 17 and was told it was being resolved, her office said.
But further complaints have surfaced since.
DailyMail.com has contacted the DC National Guard for comment about how the issue is being resolved.
Guard officials said Tuesday they were working on the matter but insisted there had only been a small number of incidents where food was uncooked, no substantiated complaints about foreign objects in food and no cases of foodborne illness reported, reported Detroit News.
Lt. Col. Robert Carver said less than 0.01 percent of the 1.2 million meals provided between January 6 and February 18 were undercooked.
Carver said meals were being spot checked and kitchens examined but there was no ‘substantial issues’ found so far.
Nearly 26,000 National Guard troops were sent from all 50 states in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot to support the Capitol Police as part of the Post Inaugural Security Mission.
The guard members from other states work under the command and control of the Washington DC National Guard, which made the decision that all troops would receive contracted meals.
The contract was awarded and is monitored by the National Guard Bureau, according to the Michigan National Guard.
Rep. Debbie Dingell said it is not just a problem affecting the Michigan guard members.
‘It’s not only a Michigan guard problem. I stop and talk to all the guard out there, and they said it’s improved, but still far from perfect,’ she said.
Thousands of troops have returned home already but around 4,900 remain in DC until at least March 12 at the request of the Capitol Police.
This includes 1,000 members from the Michigan National Guard. The agreed upon end date for their deployment is March 12.
Issues with the quality of food comes after a backlash in January when shocking photos showed thousands of Guardsmen forced to sleep on the floor of the packed Thurgood Marshall Building parking garage and in a park outside.
Images showed troops packed inside parking garages during their rest breaks with one unit of around 5,000 forced to sleep in one garage with just one bathroom between all of them.
Before being located to the parking lot, the troops had been allowed to take rest breaks inside the Capitol building.
The soldiers do have hotel rooms but their 12 hour shift pattern means they cannot easily return to their rooms during rest breaks.
They had been asked to leave the Capitol building and take their rest breaks in a nearby designated parking lot by a Capitol officer who did not have the authority to do so.
Capitol Police apologized later and said troops could return to the Capitol after some Guardsmen said they felt ‘incredibly betrayed’.
Later that month it emerged up to 200 National Guard members had tested positive for COVID-19, while several hundred more were in quarantine in hotels after showing symptoms or being exposed to the virus.
Insiders described a failure by the National Guard to implement coronavirus testing and social distancing protocols evenly across the board, with some troops not being tested on arrival, some receiving only temperature checks and some told to cut short quarantine or skip it entirely in order to report for duty.