FORT BRAGG, NC (CNN) — Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has ordered that active duty troops who were moved to the Washington DC area should return to their home base of Fort Drum in New York, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Friday.
On Thursday, Esper ordered about 700 of the 1,600 active duty troops who were brought to the Washington region on Monday back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Friday’s order to the New York-based troops removes almost all the active duty presence brought in to bolster law enforcement. The troops had been positioned around Washington on “heightened alert status” to allow for their quick deployment amid nationwide protests.
McCarthy also announced that the crew of a helicopter seen flying low over protesters in Washington on Monday night has been grounded pending an investigation into whether those flights were conducted appropriately.