The District of Columbia Air National Guard’s support of the law-enforcement response to civil unrest in the nation’s capital following the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody concluded at midnight on June 22, DCNG spokesperson Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper confirmed to Air Force Magazine via email.
In a June 19 letter addressed “to the courageous Airmen of the 113th,” Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Keith G. MacDonald praised them for executing the unrest-response mission “with compassion, dedication, and courage.”
This courage was not only evidenced in moments when Airmen stood the line despite a potential desire to join in the demonstrations, but also by their remembrance of the public’s impetus for protesting in the first place, he wrote in the letter, which was posted on the wing’s Facebook page.
“We all watched a Black man senselessly killed by law enforcement. Mr. Floyd’s death ripped open the wound of racism, and revealed that societal band-aids cannot stem the flow of inequity. It takes courage to know this in your heart, and you still answered the call,” he wrote.
The approximately 150 Airmen who just concluded the mission, staff who supported them, and the rest of the Wing’s technicians and Drill Status Guardsmen who remained on orders were slated to go through a “reverse JRSOI [joint reception, staging, onward movement, and integration]” process starting at noon on June 22, MacDonald said in a June 19 Facebook town hall.
Orders for Airmen going through this process were set to last through June 24, he said.
The wing has also offered to test these Airmen for COVID-19 via the D.C. Health Service, MacDonald noted.
“Social distancing was tough in this mission, and so we wanted to make sure we took care of our members, and offered each and every one of you a COVID test,” he said.
DCANG aircraft were never involved in the mission, Clapper confirmed.
Additionally, the Air Force Inspector General is probing the use of Air National Guard RC-26 aircraft over Washington and Minneapolis, Minn., during the unrest response, the New York Times reported June 18.
A West Virginia ANG RC-26 that was tracked over Washington during the civil disturbances had been helping the D.C. National Guard with “airborne situational awareness of key lines of communication and critical infrastructure within the District,” ANG spokesperson Lt. Col. Devin Robinson told Air Force Magazine on June 5.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on June 11 ordered an “after-action review” of the National Guard’s role in responding to nationwide unrest in the preceding two weeks, The Hill reported.