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WASHINGTON – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Milley said that some soldiers deployed to Washington, D.C. to possibly assist in thwarting Black Lives Matter protests were issued bayonets, USA TODAY has confirmed.

 

Members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the “Old Guard”, based just outside the nation’s capital, were mobilized early last month in response to demonstrations over police brutality following the death of George Floyd. 

On June 2, during their deployment, the service members were issued bayonets but were instructed to keep them in their “scabbards and not fixed to weapons,” Milley told two U.S. Congressmen in a letter.

 

The letter is dated June 26 and addressed to Democratic Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who had penned a letter to Milley on June 22, expressing concern that bayonets would escalate any potential violence at protests.

Gen Milley said that the order to mobilize the service members came from Army Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, who serves as commander of the military district of Washington.

Members of neither the 82nd Airborne Division nor The Old Guard were never sent into the city to respond to protests. Members of the 82nd Airborne Division were sent back two days after their arrival.

Milley’s letter, dated June 26, was sent to Democratic Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who demanded an explanation after the Associated Press first reported on the use of bayonets on June 2.

The AP has also reported an unclassified military document detailing some of the soldiers were not trained in riot response, and commanders had planned to train them within 96 hours of arriving at the nation’s capital. Read more

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