Michigan National Guard troops hospitalized by raw meat and food with metal shavings in Washington D.C.

Michigan National Guard troops hospitalized by raw meat and
food with metal shavings in Washington D.C. 1

WASHINGTON, DC – Several members of the Michigan National Guard deployed to Washington D.C. have been sickened and some hospitalized after a government contractor fed them undercooked meat, some found to be laced with metal shavings.

More than a dozen guard troops have been sickened by undercooked and tainted food provided to them by a contractor selected by the Democrat-run D.C. government.

Reportedly, the undercooked meat has been served for weeks, but the meals Monday were so bad that they prompted a staff sergeant to contact the media.

An unidentified Michigan National Guard staff sergeant told 7 Action News that almost 75 meals were thrown out Sunday after metal shavings were found. The staff sergeant said that the meat was so undercooked, troops became ill.

The staff sergeant said:

“Yesterday, for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them. Just yesterday, the lunches were, soldiers had found metal shavings in their food.”

The staff sergeant said that the concerns are not only about food quality, but also the quantity. Several guard members have become malnourished because of inadequate food. The staff sergeant said:

“You were getting maybe a Danish and some sort of juice, and then we had certain days where it was clearly a dinner roll and Sunny D.”

After news of the tainted and spoiled food made it to command officers, the staff sergeant said there was a change in the boxes being delivered:

“They said alright, we’re going to make sure we spot check them. And we’re also going to start having them add temperatures to it. At 140, you cook that chicken, undercook it to 140, and now you’re telling… you’re telling us that it’s… a 30-minute drive.

“This is what they say on the little placard that’s (inaudible) good for four hours. No, it’s not. It wasn’t good from the start and now it’s had hours to become even more dangerous.”

In addition to supplying the media with a taped interview, the staff sergeant provided several photographs showing raw and undercooked chicken, metal shavings on rice, and a meal pack containing snacks similar to what a child would bring to a school field trip, not deployed military members.

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Because the concerns of the troops were not addressed by the command staff, concerns about the food were sent to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office. The Governor called the acting secretary of the Army to demand the issue be resolved.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s office is checking into the incident, and Lawrence plans to eat with the Michigan National Guard this week to see the food for herself. Sen. Gary Peters said he will also be looking into the claims. Peters wrote on his Twitter account:

“The men and women of @MINationalGuard are in DC protecting the Capitol: the very symbol of our democracy.  

“This is completely outrageous and unacceptable. It must be fixed—immediately—and I’ll be looking into this as a member of @SASCDems”

The Michigan National Guard issued a statement saying the situation is “concerning”:

“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 show that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable.

“As soon as the first reports were received. Gov. 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 Michigan National Guard included in their statement that the food program feeding its guard members was the responsibility of the leadership in Washington, D.C.:

“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 statement went on to ensure the troops and the citizens of Michigan that senior Michigan National Guard leaders will be monitoring and following up on the food issues:

“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 unidentified staff sergeant gave an update on the food situation 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.”

The Michigan National Guard sent 1,000 personnel as part of a multi-state task force under the command and control of the Washington D.C. national Guard. The troops are providing enhanced force support and security because Democratic federal leaders in Washington and local officials fear further violence following the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman issued a warning Thursday that militia groups involved in the January 6 insurrection aimed to “blow up the Capitol”:

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified.”

Michigan National Guard troops are scheduled to return home around March 12.

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