Michigan National Guard troops served raw meat and moldy food while guarding US Capitol, many hospitalized
After a dozen soldiers fell sick and some went to the hospital, the concern reportedly went up the chain of command and there was a noticeable change in the boxes being delivered
Members of Michigan's National Guard were reportedly served undercooked and bad quality food, with some meals containing metal shavings, while stationed at the US Capitol. This comes as another blow for the Biden administration just weeks after it emerged that Guardsmen were made to sleep on a garage floor in the cold winter. Now, a bipartisan congressional delegation from the state has sent the chief of the National Guard a letter addressing the food crisis.
"Recently, there have been several reports regarding the poor quality of food that is being provided to these service members," lawmakers wrote. "Michigan National Guard members stationed in our nation's capital have repeatedly and personally brought these concerns directly to our offices and to the leadership of the National Guard. These reports include meals being provided that are badly undercooked, raw, moldy, and even filled with metal shavings."
According to the 14 Michigan House members who signed the letter, the poor food service could be attributed to subpar contractors hired to support the federal response to secure the Capitol. They even noted how some guards had to be hospitalized due to the food.
"It is clear that these contracted meals are poorly prepared, oftentimes inedible, and highly inadequate to support our soldiers," they wrote. "It is completely unacceptable that our men and woman serving in Washington, DC are being hospitalized due to the food they are being provided."
Lawmakers did not provide further details but asked that either a new food contractor be brought in or that National Guard members receive a per diem for as long as they are held in D.C.
Michigan National Guard members still serving in Washington have received undercooked and moldy food, plus some metal shavings.— Andrew LaCombe (@andrewlacombe) March 2, 2021
What’s next? https://t.co/iQFFqYdeXf @wluctv6 pic.twitter.com/S3Qk6X776n
A staff sergeant with the Michigan National Guard told WXYZ that the problem is not isolated. “Yesterday, for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them,” the sergeant told the outlet on condition of anonymity. "Just yesterday, the lunches were, soldiers had found metal shavings in their food.”
According to the source, food concerns were not just limited to quality. The quantity was an issue as well. “You were getting maybe a Danish and some sort of juice," the sergeant said of breakfast meals. "And then we had certain days where it was clearly a dinner roll and Sunny D.”
After a dozen soldiers fell sick and some went to the hospital, the concern reportedly went up the chain of command and there was a noticeable change in the boxes being delivered. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office reportedly called the acting secretary of the army saying the food was "unacceptable."
The anonymous sergeant gave another update to WXYZ On Monday. "Now after the raw meat yesterday for dinner they have told us not to eat the meals for the next two days and are giving us MRE’s instead. Soldiers are now paying for all their meals for the next two days in order to get real food," they said.
According to CNN, MREs (short for "Meals, Ready to Eat") are self-contained field rations with "flameless heaters so that troops can have a hot meal." A National Guard spokesperson reportedly told the outlet that service members "never have to go in their pocket. If they go in their pocket, it's because they chose to."
North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn attacked Democrats for the treatment of National Guard troops deployed in D.C. "First the Democrats put them in the cold garage to sleep. Now they have metal shavings and undercooked food? Our heroes in the National Guard deserve better!" he tweeted.
First the Democrats put them in the cold garage to sleep— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (@RepCawthorn) March 2, 2021
Now they have metal shavings and undercooked food?
Our heroes in the National Guard deserve better! https://t.co/ZlclBlDwZv
Meanwhile, Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman, who co-signed the aforementioned letter, said troops didn't expect a "5-star resort" but the food they had received was "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, according to 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 went a step further and called for National Guard members to leave DC altogether, saying it's "time to get our troops home to their families." In a statement, the Michigan National Guard said reports of undercooked and inadequate food for the troops was "unacceptable" and "very concerning."
The @MINationalGuard provided this statement today:— Brian Abel (@BrianAbelTV) March 2, 2021
"The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable."@GovWhitmer spoke with the Acting Sec. of Army about the situation pic.twitter.com/QEaa7G2fRB