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Michigan National Guard, others respond to reports of substandard food provided to troops during DC deployment

According to TV6 sources, some food provided to Guard troops was not edible.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (WLUC) - The Michigan National Guard and U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI) are responding to reports of substandard food served to troops while on deployment in Washington, D.C.

According to pictures from TV6 sources, some food provided to Guard troops was not edible.

TV6 & FOX UP have new pictures of the non-edible food provided to Michigan National Guard members in Washington,...

Posted by Andrew LaCombe on Monday, March 1, 2021

A Barstool Sports post also shares photos it received on the matter.

The Michigan National guard released the following statement to TV6 and Gray News when asked for more information:

“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. As soon as the first reports were received, Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer 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 Post Inaugural Security Mission is a multi-state taskforce, including Michigan’s 1,000 personnel, under the command and control of the Washington D.C. National Guard. A decision was made by the leadership in Washington, D.C., to provide contracted meal service for the troops there. This contract was awarded and is monitored by the National Guard Bureau. Michigan’s Adjutant General has communicated all concerns directly to the Chief of the National Guard, General Daniel R. Hokanson, who has engaged to address the reported shortcomings of the current food service contract.

“The health and wellbeing of our Michigan National Guard service members is paramount to their success as they continue to serve in missions in the United States and around the globe. Senior leaders of the Michigan National Guard will remain personally engaged with this issue and will continue to push for accountability and a solution to the ill-prepared meals being served.

“The troops are scheduled to return to Michigan shortly after March 12, the agreed upon end date for this deployment.”

After reaching out to Rep. Bergman’s office Monday for more information, and received the following response from his Communications Director, James Hogge:

“Rep. Bergman visited with many of the troops from the First District that are in D.C. over the past week, and this issue was a topic of discussion. Per the soldiers, the food issues have been remedied, but we are still looking into it as a team to see how this happened and ensure this doesn’t happen again. As he has made very clear, Rep. Bergman believes it’s past time to get our National Guard troops back home to Michigan.”

Here’s a post from Bergman, who visited with the Michigan troops last week.

I spent this morning with our great men and women from the Michigan National Guard who have been sent to Washington,...

Posted by Rep. Jack Bergman on Thursday, February 25, 2021

In a release on Tuesday, Bergman said:

“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. 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.

”I’m proud of the Michigan Guard’s unwavering attitude to complete their mission. It’s time to get our troops home to their families.”

In addition, Bergman sent a letter to General Daniel R. Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, demanding answers and an immediate remedy for Michigan Guard in DC being fed contaminated and undercooked food.

In part, the letter Bergman sent said:

“In recent weeks there have been reports of soldiers being served undercooked and contaminated food. This was an issue of concern to me, and one that I brought up while visiting the troops last week. My understanding at the time of my visit was that this issue had been remedied. However, since that day we have received multiple new reports of soldiers being served raw chicken and other food containing metal shavings. This is unacceptable and an embarrassment to the D.C. leadership accountable for this mission.... I ask that you take immediate action to remedy this situation for the remainder of the time our troops remain in D.C. and provide full accountability for this failure.”

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said the food situation was “absolutely unacceptable!” She said she was pushing for an immediate fix to the problem.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) shared the same sentiment. Peters also sent a letter to Gen. Hokanson, and Acting Secretary of the Army, John E Whitley, saying in part:

“After several attempts to rectify the situation and little progress, I believe that the only appropriate course of action is for the immediate cancellation of the existing food contract, the disbursement of per diem for the remaining duration of the mission and to provide retroactive per diem.

“While Guard Soldiers and Airmen are away from their families and loved ones, putting their lives on hold, and protecting our democracy, they should be provided with adequate meals.”

You can read Senator Peters’ letter here.

Raw Meatloaf. Rotten Fruit. Undercooked Chicken. These are some of the photos sent to me this past week from Michigan...

Posted by Senator Debbie Stabenow on Friday, March 5, 2021

TV6 will continue to provide any updates on this story as they are made available.

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