SALT LAKE CITY — Around 350 members of the Utah National Guard are in the nation’s capital to assist local authorities in keeping the peace on the heels of the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
The deployment occurred late Friday morning aboard the Utah Air National Guard’s KC-135 military aircraft. According to a press release, all personnel will be medically ready and adhere to COVID-19 risk mitigation protocols while assigned to the National Capitol Region.
Their mission will be to assist the Washington, D.C. National Guard. Specialist McArthur, who asked that his last name not be published for security reasons, said the mission is to ensure overall safety during a time of unrest, but he said troops are prepared in case they are needed.
PRESS RELEASE: Utah National Guard sends service members for support in Washington D.C.https://t.co/TyFyMKiJnO
— Utah National Guard (@UTNationalGuard) January 15, 2021
“We feel ready and confident that everything will go great. We’re going to assist the local authorities and the police, taking direction from there,” said McArthur, in preparation for his first deployment as a Utah National Guardsman.
Guard troops connected to the public
McArthur says for most troops this deployment has come on short notice and many have deployed more than once, often to diffuse volatile situations like the ones this summer when riots broke out in Washington, D.C. He said National Guard troops have a unique connection to the pubic.
“We’re neighbors, we’re your friends. We’re out there in the communities, no different from anyone else, we just put on the uniform when we need to as National Guard members,” said McArthur.
He said one thing he is taking with him is the knowledge that we are all Americans regardless of political and party affiliation — and that the National Guard is there to protect everyone. McArthur said he does not believe there will be any serious trouble over the weekend and he said he hopes to return following the inauguration on January 20th.
In addition, the Utah Air National Guard’s 130th Engineering Installation Squadron will provide Joint Incident Site Communication Capability (JISCC) in support of the inauguration, according to the press release.
The JISCC, a routine communication-support package requested for presidential inaugurations, is comprised of approximately 14 Airmen and communication equipment and will provide interoperability for communication systems used by supporting agencies throughout Washington.
Gov. Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency on Jan. 14, 2021, ahead of possible protests at the Utah State Capitol this weekend. Gov. Cox requested the Utah National Guard to stand ready to assist Utah Highway Patrol and other civil authorities.
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