SALT LAKE CITY — After getting the order for deployment from Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Saturday afternoon, the Utah Army National Guard had boots on the ground and a Black Hawk helicopter in the air within two hours.
“People expect to have law enforcement out there but when they see National Guard rolling up and we come in with our Humvees I think it’s a lot of deterrence to them," said Maj. Jason Adamson, who has been with the Utah Army National Guard for 15 years. “I actually didn’t think we were ever do this in a military capacity just because, I mean, we train for it on a bi-annual basis.”
Up to 200 Guardsmen were deployed to the mission in Salt Lake City, but many were sent back to a nearby staging area to reduce presence within the city on Monday morning.
Adamson, along with members of the guard from across the state, were a part of the deployment. Adamson says most of the deployment has been dedicated to security detail and providing support to local law enforcement where needed.
“It was really nice that we were able to respond so quickly to give them the help that they needed," said Adamson, who is also a police officer with the Unified Police Department. “You know one of my buddies got hit in the head with a rock, another one got hit in the arm with a brick, so they were right there on the front lines and just being able to support them and bring another 200 potential soldiers and airmen to help them defend our city, it just meant a lot."
No members of the National Guard were hurt during the protest. However, numerous reports from those in the downtown area said that members of the guard were crucial in protecting nearby businesses and apartment buildings as the protest began to wind down.
“We ended up deploying on Saturday night about 60 soldiers and about 27 airmen just to assist, most of it was with security," Adamson said.
The National Guard's mission was a 72-hour deployment in Salt Lake City. That was scheduled to end on Monday evening.
However, with more protests being organized on Monday, the Guard still had a presence on city streets and helped Salt Lake City Police with road blockages for city repair work.
“In the state of Utah we’ve been, we get overwhelming support not just from the law enforcement side but to the military side," Adamson said.