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How the U.S. Armed Forces Responded to the Boston Bombing

Members of Massachusetts National Guard / AP
April 16, 2013

The Navy deployed an Explosives Ordinance Disposal team yesterday to Boston while the Massachusetts National Guard has activated over 500 additional troops in response to the terror attack in Boston on Monday, military officials have confirmed.

The three-man naval team was based out of Newport, R.I., and has since returned home, a spokesman for the Defense Department said. The team came at the request of Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

There were reports of several other mysterious packages being dismantled in the hours after the twin explosions near the marathon finish line, but officials confirmed Tuesday morning that there were only two bombs—the ones that exploded.

The Massachusetts National Guard has activated hundreds more soldiers beyond the 400-plus troops already on the scene to help with the Boston Marathon, bringing the total number of Massachusetts National Guard troops on the ground to over 1,000 as of Tuesday morning.

The activated troops are providing security and staging transportation assets, according to a Massachusetts National Guard statement.

Other states’ National Guards are either assisting or waiting on stand by.

A Civil Support Team (CST) from New York’s National Guard was already at the marathon to provide backup to Massachusetts’s Civil Support Teams. CSTs are at every large public event, a spokesman for the New York National Guard said. The New York CST is on its way back home this morning.

Rhode Island also had a small team of National Guardsman in place at the marathon to help with communication, at the request of the Massachusetts National Guard.

With so much communication needed, "it’s always good to have redundancy," said a Rhode Island National Guard spokesman.

"We don’t have any indication on when they’ll come home," the spokesman said.

The New York National Guard is helping with heightened security in New York City. A spokesman said all of the active duty forces in the city are on duty right now; typically a third of them are off.

The head of the Vermont National Guard has been in touch with the head of Massachusetts’ "to offer support to the Massachusetts National Guard should they need it," a spokeswoman for the Vermont National Guard said.

Other states’ National Guards, including Connecticut and Pennsylvania, are standing by in case Massachusetts requests assistance.

The New Hampshire National Guard is in the process of contacting each member, "just for accountability purposes" to make sure none were injured in the blasts, a spokeswoman said.

No military bases around the world have been placed on a heightened alert, and no jets were scrambled yesterday after the attack, according to a Defense Department spokesman.

A Boston Law enforcement official confirmed the FBI has taken over the investigation.

At a news conference on Tuesday morning, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation said the FBI is working with its Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), of which the military is a member. An FBI spokeswoman said the JTTF is primarily an information sharing partnership among different law-enforcement agencies.

"The Department of Defense is prepared to respond quickly to any request for additional support from domestic law enforcement agencies," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, according to a military statement.