June 16, 2020

Duckworth Speaks with Army Secretary about Low-Flying Military Helicopters over Crowds during Peaceful Protests, Reiterates Need for Army to Remove Confederate Battle Flag


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after speaking with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy about the use of low-flying military helicopters over peaceful civilian protestors in Washington, D.C. Earlier this month, Duckworth sent letters demanding investigations by and information from both the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after multiple reports of low-flying military aircraft operating over large gatherings of civilians in Washington, D.C., following Donald Trump’s threats of military action against those protesting the killing of George Floyd. Duckworth also reiterated her request that the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau to remove Confederate Battle Flags. Last week, Duckworth penned an op-ed urging the Armed Forces to rename military installations so they no longer honor the enemies who fought against the Union.

“I had a productive call with Secretary McCarthy, where I expressed my deep concern about the use of low-flying military helicopters to suppress crowds of peaceful protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights and calling out for justice for Black Americans. I reiterated my call for an investigation into this incident so we can get to the bottom of it and answer the questions: who gave those orders and why?

“I also raised the need to remove all Confederate Battle Flags at Army installations and prohibit such displays moving forward. The U.S. Marine Corps, and now the U.S. Navy, have demonstrated moral leadership in taking action. I hope the Army will not be the last service branch to act. Honoring the ‘lost cause’ of those who waged war against America to defend their right to own, sell and kill Black Americans has no place in our nation, especially the U.S. Armed Forces, which fought a deadly war to eliminate the barbaric practice of slavery.

“I will continue to advocate for these issues and look forward to being in touch with Secretary McCarthy regarding next steps.”

Senator Duckworth is a former Army Black Hawk pilot who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years.