SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 8, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah National Guard soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) returned home Sunday after five days in Washington, D.C.
Approximately 200 Utah National Guard members were activated “at the request of Defense Secretary Mark Esper to augment civil authorities in Washington, D.C. amid civil unrest,” a news release from the Utah National Guard said.
Guard members provided security at national monuments in the nation’s capital and aided in cleanup efforts during the protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
“With heavy hearts, we answered the call to our nation’s capital,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Holmer, officer in charge of the mobilization and commander, 1st Battalion, 19th SFG (A).
“We feel grateful for the opportunity to support the Secret Service, the Department of Justice, the D.C. National Guard, the Parks Police and most of all to serve our fellow Americans. I’m proud of the professionalism and maturity with which our Utah guardsmen conducted themselves. We’re also thankful for the support of our Utah leadership. We’re happy that the situation has de-escalated and that we are able to come home.”
The unit was postured for an overseas deployment when the call for support came, allowing the Utah National Guard to rapidly respond, the news release said.
“It’s an honor to get an opportunity to serve in our nation’s capital,” said Sgt. Gilberto Reynosa, a chemical specialist with the 19th SFG (A). “Seeing the aftermath from the events of last week, we felt a tremendous sense of pride to be able to repair some of our monuments. When I got the chance to deploy to D.C. I did not think twice. I would do it again.”