At least two M1A1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles were spotted on rail transporters at the south-eastern edge of the capital.
The M1A1 tanks and other military hardware are said to be guarded by military police and arrived Monday via freight train from Georgia's Fort Stewart.
Military police stand military vehicles on a flat auto in a rail yard, Monday, July 1, 2019, in Washington, ahead of a Fourth of July celebration that President Donald Trump says will include military hardware. The speech Thursday will kick off the "Salute to America", a revamped Independence Day observance designed by the president that will also include a military flyover and an extended fireworks display.
Trump is reportedly planning to give a speech from the Lincoln Memorial and cordon off a large area around it-cutting off what many consider to be "hands-down best spot in Washington for fellowship and fireworks", per the Washington Post.
A USA military official told CNN last week that the cost of using military assets in this year's July Fourth celebration was estimated to be less than $1 million and that the military personnel involved are to be drawn from units based in the Washington area, helping to drive down costs. The president has promised to go all out for Independence Day this year by sending tanks down the National Mall and having Air Force One do a flyover before the fireworks begin. An official said only that "VIPs, friends and family, and members of the military" are getting access to the cordoned-off area. Others say Trump will politicize the festivities.
Mr Trump told reporters on Monday: "You've got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks".
A USA defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said that the Pentagon was not planning for tanks to be involved until late last week.
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While the United States continues to operate the M1 Abrams tank the U.S. military has not used World War II-era M4 Sherman tanks since the 1950s.
"The Secret Service is concerned with the safety of the event, (and) the White House is dealing with the issuance of tickets", Miller said. After attending a Bastille Day parade in France previous year, Trump tried to plan his own event meant to "top" that one. Brand-new. And we're very proud of it.
But Trump's presidential campaign did, a source close to the organization said.
The Republican National Committee is distributing a "small number" of tickets to the event, which it says is standard practice and follows what the Democratic National Committee did under Democratic presidents.
Additionally, the celebrations will feature a small number of M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles, U.S. defense officials have confirmed to CNN.
Thursday's events are also expected to include a military demonstration by the US Navy Blue Angels and other aircraft.
The tanks had been a question mark until Monday when Trump announced that the 60-ton plus tracked vehicles would be featured at the events, although how and where was not immediately disclosed.