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The Idaho National Guard shares insight on their experience in Washington D.C.

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jun 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-14 20:34:32-04

BOISE, Idaho — Around 400 members of the Idaho National Guard volunteered to help during the protests in Washington D.C.

The National Guard Bureau requested Idaho's assistance, and Governor Little answered the call after making sure the guard had the resources to respond.

After receiving word on Thursday, June 11, the soldiers flew to the nation's capital on Friday, and by Saturday, they were on the job.

"We immediately were on missions," said LT. Col Benjamin Cook. "We were basically able to perform some security missions to help protect some key sights. It was mostly a presence."

Members of the guard didn't see any rioting in, and as the weekend progressed, they tell us the protests were peaceful.

"We didn't have weapons, we didn't have our helmets, we didn't have body armor or anything like that," said Cook. "It wasn't necessary; the demonstrations that were going on at that point were very peaceful."

By the end of the weekend, President Trump pulled the guard out of Washington D.C., and the soldiers returned to Idaho.

The Idaho National Guard is used to responding to different emergencies, but this mission was unique.

"It was a pretty historic event for us, something to reflect upon," said Cook. "We weren't there to crack down or anything we were just there to help protect property, preserve life, but also protect the protesters."

The citizen-soldiers of the Idaho National Guard are still on orders currently, they are in self-quarantine as a precaution.

"There weren't any confirmed cases that were directly tied to any missions, and I'm not aware of any other states exhibiting cases or symptoms," said Cook. "This is just a precautionary measure, so after coming back to Idaho, we are in self-isolation."

The District of Columbia National Guard paid for the Idaho National Guard's trip to Washington D.C.