Joint Chiefs Chairman Confirms Soldiers Were Issued Bayonets For DC Protests
Talking Points Memo reported this week that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed an Associated Press report that some service members sent to Washington, D.C., amid protests last month were issued bayonets.
Members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, which is based in D.C. and typically guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, were mobilized last month to respond to massive protests over the treatment of Black Americans and systemic issues of police brutality. But they were never actually sent to the protests after they arrived.
- Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark A. Milley wrote in a letter to two U.S. representatives that the “soldiers were issued bayonets for their June 2 deployment — but told they were to remain in their scabbards and not attached to their service rifles,” TPM reported.
- The general also “said the order to mobilize the troops came from Major Army Gen. Omar Jones, who serves as commander of the military district of Washington.”
- The letter, obtained by the AP, was delivered to Democratic Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Ted Lieu of California, who had expressed concern over the matter in a June 22 letter to Milley.
- TPM wrote that in his letter, “Milley stopped short of agreeing to bar service members from deploying to domestic protests with bayonets. He said the decision would depend on individual circumstances.”