HELENA – In response to a request from the National Guard Bureau, Gov. Greg Gianforte on Jan. 16 sent off 150 Montana National Guard soldiers to Washington D.C. to aid in security efforts during the presidential inauguration.
Soldiers are from the 484th Military Police Company, in Billings, Malta and Glasgow; the 143rd Military Police Detachment in Lewistown; and Headquarters Company of the 1-163rd Combined Arms Battalion in Belgrade will support the efforts of the Washington D.C. National Guard and federal law enforcement agencies.
“The Montana National Guard has a long, proud history of supporting our state and nation,” said Gianforte in a Jan. 15 governor’s office press release. “I’m grateful to our selfless soldiers who are answering the call of duty again today to help ensure a peaceful transfer of power, a bedrock of our republic.”
Montana is one of the dozens of other states sending National Guard soldiers to support law enforcement during the inauguration at the nation’s capitol. The soldiers are trained in the use of lethal and less-than-lethal force, de-escalation techniques, as well as the use of protective equipment. This is standard for civil disturbance response missions. They will be sent with all of their assigned equipment, including civil disturbance gear.
“The National Guard has been supporting the Inauguration Ceremony for the last 232 years, and this is no exception,” said Montana Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Pete Hronek in a Jan. 15 press release from the Montana National Guard Public Affairs Office. “Montana is proud to be able to provide soldiers to assist with security, communication and logistics support.”
The soldiers arrived at Fort Harrison on Thursday, Jan. 14, they began in-processing on Friday, Jan. 15 and received refresher training on civil disturbance Saturday, Jan. 16. They were scheduled to depart Montana either late Saturday, Jan. 16 or early Sunday, Jan. 17, via four C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 120th Airlift Wing of the Montana Air National Guard.
All the Montana soldiers will be screened for COVID-19 and will be following the Department of Defense and CDC guidelines throughout the duration of the mission.