National Guard will be in Charlotte to assist DNC

In addition to designated squad, extra guardsmen training nearby

macooke@charlotteobserver.comAugust 25, 2012 

Hundreds of N.C. National Guardsmen will be sent to Charlotte to provide security at several “critical infrastructure” sites around venues for the Democratic National Convention.

And many more guardsmen will be conveniently nearby should they be called upon to assist local authorities. They plan to be in Charlotte the week of the DNC as part of their annual training, said spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver of the N.C. Air National Guard.

All of the guardsmen will stay at the old Camp Greene, a World War I training site in west Charlotte, during the Sept. 4-6 convention.

“The Guard is ready to support the governor and the city of Charlotte in its traditional role of support to civil authorities,” Carver said.

Carver declined to say which sites in and around Charlotte that guardsmen will protect or specifically how many guardsmen will come. But he did say that several hundred serving on state active duty status will work in direct DNC support roles through funding from the city of Charlotte.

City officials couldn’t immediately be reached Friday to determine the cost associated with bringing the guardsmen to Charlotte. The city is to receive a $50 million federal security grant for the convention.

In addition to the service members with DNC-specific duties, the Guard will have a “couple thousand that can be available,” Carver said.

Annual training for guardsmen will be held simultaneously during convention week, making it easier for the National Guard to call them up if the need arises.

“We’re obviously paying a lot of attention to (the DNC) because it’s a significant event,” Carver said. “We are just making sure we are able to perform our traditional civil-support role.”

Florida’s National Guard will dispatch 1,750 troops to Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention next week, reports the Tampa Bay Times. They’re expected to help with traffic control and security posts.

The president, Congress and the governor can call the National Guard into service during emergencies or other situations. The Guard also can be called into duty if local law enforcement cannot maintain civil control and martial law is declared.

The Guard has about two dozen people assigned as part of Joint Task Force Panther, which will assist with the command of Guard forces if they’re called to assist with an incident, Carver said.

He said the Guard has been in daily contact with other agencies, including the Secret Service.

During their stay in the Queen City, the guardsmen will stay at what was once Camp Greene, which was built in 1917 as a U.S. Army facility where thousands of soldiers trained in preparation for World War I.

The camp closed two years later, and all that remains now is a highway marker and the camp’s headquarters, the historic Dowd House near Remount Road and Wilkinson Boulevard.

The National Guard also will operate from its armory on West Boulevard.

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