CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Tuesday, SC National Guard troops returned to the Palmetto State after a week-long deployment in Washington, DC, assisting local law enforcement with ensuring public safety during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Around 450 SCNG soldiers arrived in the nation’s capital on June 2 to help ensure that civil demonstrations in support of police reform and racial equality did not devolve into civil unrest. Their roles included “crowd control, general security, and patrols for continued public safety and critical infrastructure security, including the national monuments.”
Lt. Col. Kenneth Snow described the undertaking as “phenomenal” and “groundbreaking.” He said that within 24-hours notice, they were able to mobilize troops and get soldiers and equipment to the capital.
Despite DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s skepticism to the activation of outside troops, and her request of President Trump and state governors to remove the troops, SCNG soldiers reported mostly positive interactions while on the ground. Lt. Col. Snow said it was always in the back of their minds that they “may be across the line from the protesters, but [they] are there to support their rights to get their voice out and get their message out.”
Following overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations over the weekend, outside contingents began returning home. SCNG troops arrived at “multiple locations in SC” on Tuesday, including the Armory in Mount Pleasant. As SCNG members are not full-time active duty, they may return to their civilian jobs, or be redirected into COVID-19 related support roles.