WASHINGTON — The more than 1,600 active-duty soldiers who were called to Washington, D.C., in case President Donald Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to deal with protestors may soon go back to their bases around the country “if conditions allow,” a senior defense official told NBC News.
More than 700 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who have been in Washington since Monday are being sent back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina tonight, said the official.
A decision to send the soldiers from the 82nd Airborne back south was made on Wednesday, but then reversed, said the official, because the administration got word there might be a large demonstration in the capital this weekend and wanted to make sure it could respond. “Now they are confident they can,” said the official.
The official said that “if conditions allow,” hundreds more soldiers from the 91st Military Police Battalion will return to Fort Drum in New York on Friday, and others could follow.
The soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, who had been waiting at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, were never called into the city to confront protestors. The decision to send them home was made again Thursday afternoon.
More than 1,600 active-duty troops from Fort Bragg, Fort Drum and Fort Riley in Kansas began arriving in the capital area on Monday. They have been staying at multiple military installations in the capital area.