SC National Guard in DC update: Two hospitalized after lightning strike, Mayor requests removal of troops

South Carolina News

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the South Carolina National Guard prepare to travel to the District of Columbia from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, June 2, 2020, to respond to a request for support for the District of Columbia National Guard conducting civil disturbance missions in the nation’s capital. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun, South Carolina National Guard)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Earlier this week, 445 SC National Guard soldiers were deployed to Washington, DC to assist local law enforcement with ensuring protests remain peaceful. They are among some 4,500 National Guard troops from around the nation currently on the ground in the capital.

Early Friday, two SC National Guard members were hospitalized after lightning struck in close proximity to their position in Lafayette Park. Troops were standing guard in the park, which is across the street from the White House, during a severe storm. According to Captain Jessica Donnelly, they are currently in stable condition, but will remain in the hospital for a 24-hour observation period.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to President Trump on Friday requesting that he withdraw “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city. As protests have remained peaceful, she reasoned that local units are equipped to handle the situation. She subsequently sent letters to the governors of states with troops deployed to DC, including Ohio and New Jersey, thanking them for the assistance, but requesting they bring their troops home.

SC State Representative Jeff Duncan took to Twitter to express his disapproval of what he called a displacement of SC National Guard troops by Mayor Bowser, saying “if they city of Washington is going to disrespect the SC National Guard, then the city shouldn’t expect the support of the SC Congressional Delegation.”

This Tweet was in reference to Mayor Bowser relocating some service members staying at certain hotels. The National Guard Bureau released a statement clarifying:

“Some National Guard responders were quartering in hotel accommodations which had preexisting contractual agreements with the District. Out of respect for existing agreements those facilities have with the city government, those service members have relocated.”

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