Montana press outlets have been relatively silent about the Montana National Guard being activated in the wake of coronavirus. The only outlets reporting their activation have been publications associated with the United States Military. With Montanans on edge, Governor Steve Bullock should be clear about why the guard has been called out and for what purpose.
The Military Times reports that the Montana National Guard is one of 22 state units now activated to combat COVID-19.
They write, “Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin have all activated Guard components.”
The Military Times adds, “The National Guard Bureau (NGB) on the federal level assists in ‘synchronization’ and planning between the states, and their coordination center is a ’24/7 operation working at increased capacity in anticipation of COVID-19 requirements.’
Additionally, the U.S. Army website reports that the Montana Guard has been activated.
They write, “Late last week, roughly 400 Guard members took action across six states against the coronavirus. As of Monday, those numbers surged to more than 650 troops in 15 states, and by Wednesday morning, more than 2,000 Guardsmen in 23 states responded to support civil authorities around the country.”
The website continues, “So far, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin have been called up.”
But they have been called up for what?
Where will the Montana guard be going? What will they be doing? Should Montanans expect to see them in the street? What is the purpose? How will they be assisting?
Officials said, “Their mission has kept them busy from drive-thru testing facilities, providing logistic support for healthcare professionals, decontaminating public spaces, and coordinating efforts shoulder-to-shoulder with state emergency responders, among other tasks.”
However, to date, most of these actions by guardsmen simply aren’t happening in Montana.
The only reference thus far to the Montana guard serving a role in coronavirus recovery has been from News Talk KGVO that states the guard escorted eight Montanans home from a contaminated cruise ship.
National Guard Public relations Officer Captain Dan Bushnell told the media, “has not yet been tasked with any missions dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic that has entered the state.” And yet, he said, “
“Right now the Montana National Guard is planning,” he said. “For any kind of an operation like this there’s a great logistical list that has to happen should the governor and the Adjutant General decide to activate the National Guard.
But the previously mentioned armed services websites state the guard is already activated. If so, what are they doing? And why?