Duckworth Calls on National Guard to Preserve Records Regarding Dangerous, Low-Flying Military Helicopter Flights Threatening Peaceful Protesters
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in her Blackhawk helicopter during Operation Iraqi Freedom, today called on the National Guard Bureau to preserve all records regarding planning and operations related to the National Guard’s response to civil unrest in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. The June 1st response included low-flying military aircraft intimidating large groups of Americans exercising their first amendment rights, and it followed Donald Trump’s threats of military action against those protesting the killing of George Floyd.
In a letter to General Daniel Hokanson, National Guard Bureau Chief, Duckworth wrote: “Document preservation is critical to enable Congress to conduct, at the appropriate time, oversight regarding what happened and to facilitate lessons learned to ensure similar situations do not arise again.”
Since these incidents occurred, Duckworth has repeatedly and consistently pushed for additional oversight and investigations. She held separate calls with Army Secretary McCarthy and General Hokanson to relay her concerns and repeat her requests for investigations and information related to this incident. She sent multiple letters to DoD as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) demanding information and she pushed FAA Administrator Stephen Dickinson about the dangers associated with flying helicopters at low altitudes over civilians. Duckworth also raised additional concerns and has asked Secretary McCarthy to send materials related to mission briefing sheets, risk assessments, post-flight action reports and aircrew training records.
Senator Duckworth’s letter to General Hokanson follows and is available here:
General Daniel Hokanson
Chief of the National Guard Bureau
1636 Defense Pentagon (1E169)
Washington, DC 20301
Dear General Hokanson:
Thank you for your response to my letter requesting documents regarding the use of low-flying military helicopters over large groups of people in Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2020. I write to request that the National Guard Bureau (NGB) initiate a document preservation order for all NGB documents pertaining to planning and operations related to the National Guard response to civil unrest in Washington D.C. in June.
Document preservation is critical to enable Congress to conduct, at the appropriate time, oversight regarding what happened and to facilitate lessons learned to ensure similar situations do not arise again. As we discussed on our most recent call, I am requesting NGB preserve the following documentation:
- The mission briefing sheets for all National Guard aircraft flown in the D.C. Metropolitan Flight Restricted Zone (DC FRZ) on June 1, 2020.
- The risk assessment forms for all National Guard flights flown in the DC FRZ on June 1, 2020.
- The post-flight after actions reports (AAR) for all National Guard flights flown in the DC FRZ on June 1, 2020.
- The aircrew training records showing pilots and aircrew were properly trained and signed off by a military flight instructor to fly the tactical “persistent pressure” maneuver reported in the media.
- A copy of the parent unit’s flight training program to verify unit training and proficiency of the “persistent pressure” maneuver.
- The military flight manual detailing the procedures to execute the “persistent pressure” maneuver as well as guidance for its tactical usage.
- Any information included in questions 4-6 for additional military aerial tactics used to support military flight operations flown in the DC FRZ on June 1, 2020.
I appreciate the National Guard Bureau’s support in appropriately addressing this deeply concerning incident and look forward to reviewing these documents when the investigation is complete. Thank you in advance for your attention to this request.
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