The thousands of Guard troops from other states who deployed to DC are leaving

Elizabeth Howe
June 08, 2020 - 11:08 am
National Guard in DC

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Close to 4,000 National Guard troops from 11 states deployed to Washington, D.C. in response to "civil unrest" and protests erupting over the killing of George Floyd will soon all return home. Some left Sunday evening. 

Guard troops from Utah, South Carolina and nine other states were sent to the nation's capital throughout the previous week to augment the already 1,200-strong D.C. National Guard troops activated over last weekend. Now, those troops are all being sent home within 72 hours of Sunday. 

As of Sunday, the protests in D.C. had become "very peaceful in nature," Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told reporters hours after President Donald Trump's tweet. The plan for withdrawing out-of-state forces was implemented immediately. Guard troops from Mississippi, Florida, Utah and Indiana were slated to leave the city before 5 p.m. Sunday. Beginning Monday, Guard members from Missouri, South Carolina, Ohio, Idaho and Tennessee began to depart. McCarthy believed all forces will have left D.C. for their home states within 72 hours of Trump's announcement. 

The withdrawal comes days after D.C.'s Mayor Muriel Bowser publicly released a letter she sent to Trump asking that all "extraordinary military presence" be removed from the city.

More states send Guard troops to D.C. despite mayor’s withdrawal request

“The protestors have been peaceful, and last night, the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest,” Bowser’s letter from last Thursday reads. “Therefore, I am requesting that you withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”

During their time deployed to D.C., McCarthy said five of the 5,240 total Guard troops present in the city were injured. One received a severe concussion after being struck in the head by a brick thrown by a protestor, he said. 

Late last week, active-duty troops deployed to the national capital region were similarly sent back to their home installations. These troops from Fort Drum in New York and Fort Bragg in North Carolina were deployed to the area as part of a "prudent planning" measure, officials said. But activating them in D.C. would have legally required invoking the Insurrection Act, McCarthy said -- a move Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said last week he did not support. While these active-duty troops were in place if "something went bad," they ultimately were sent home without being used, McCarthy said.

Sec Army on 82nd Deployment: 'If something went bad, we were in a position to act'

SECDEF: ‘I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act’

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Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

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