GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan National Guard troops on duty in Washington, D.C. say they have been served food that’s undercooked or raw, moldy and sometimes even sprinkled with metal shavings.
It has resulted in a bipartisan call for the contract with the food vendor to be canceled.
“We first started hearing about this three, maybe four weeks ago, that there were issues. First, trying to figure out if it was just isolated. When we started asking inquiries, we were told they were aware of it, that they were trying to address that — they being National Guard leadership. We were told that it’d gotten much better,” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, told News 8 Tuesday.
A West Michigan woman sent photos of the raw meat to the News 8 newsroom, as well as video she says shows a small worm in the food given to her husband, a Guardsman, and his comrades outside the U.S. Capitol. She didn’t want to be identified but said her husband had been throwing up and has finally stopped accepting the food offered. She said he is now reaching into his own pocket to pay for meals.
“Last week, I spent about two and a half hours with them, one day walking the perimeter, getting a briefing,” Huizenga said. “I had lunch with a group of men and women in the Guard out on the fence. It probably wasn’t my finest meal. But it was edible and decent and OK, but it sounds like it’s taken a pretty dramatic nosedive.”
He said the Guardsmen must be treated better.
“Quite honestly, a better way in my opinion would not be to have a massive food service but do a per diem for them. Give them some money that they can go out, they can have breakfast, they can have dinner, they could use an MRE for lunch or snack or if they wanted to pack something, they could do that,” Huizenga said.
Huizenga said the effort to get better food is a bipartisan one and there has been a call to get rid of the food vendor.
“It’s affected everybody (in the Michigan congressional delegation). Virtually of us members of Congress from across the state have constituents who are out here,” he said. “Michigan has the largest contingency of the 5,000 troops that are out here. Part of that is because of our military police presence, we have a large MP force, so certainly yes, we can agree on something finally. The food stinks and we got to do something about it.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she has no intention of agreeing to extend the deployment of the Michigan National Guard, which is set to end March 12.
“I think our brave men and women who serve in the guard have been called on in unprecedented ways over the past 12 months,” she said during a press conference in Lansing.