By: Amy Jo Underwood
The LA Times reported that the California National Guard was ordered to put an F-15 fighter jet on alert status for a potential “domestic mission.” The fighter jet was to be prepared for a possible response to protests over the shutdown and the death of George Floyd, as well as unrest over the 2020 election. National Guardsmen told the LA Times that they disagreed with the implied intimidation tactics.
The LA Times reported that the California National Guard received an order to have an F-15 jet ready at all times at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. The stated reasons were to prevent unrest during the shutdown, as well as responding to the protests to the death of George Floyd, and civil unrest during the 2020 elections.
National Guardsmen interpreted the order as deploying the plane to intimidate civilians, due to its volume when flown low over buildings. Sources told LA Times that that would qualify as inappropriate use of military force against civilians. Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma, spokesperson for Major General David Baldwin, denied the claims and stated that other jets were “postured to support any potential civil unrest missions” but that none of them were fighter jets.
The possibility of using military aircraft to stop civil unrest, through “show of force” methods, has put the California National Guardsmen on edge, according to the LA Times, and sources stated that they would have disobeyed the order.
“That jet has one mission and one mission alone — to go up and shoot down other airplanes.” - General Dave Bakos (retired)