The 1460th Transportation Company, a Michigan Army National Guard unit headquartered in Midland, is not currently scheduled to join the roughly 300 National Guardsmen and women who’ve been mobilized in the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a local lawmaker confirmed Wednesday.
However, Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, stated Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers informed her that members of the Midland unit with certain specialized skills — such as medical training, strategic planning, and logistics — may still be individually “handpicked” for mobilization.
“I deeply respect the ‘mission first’ attitude and commitment of all our National Guardsmen and women, especially those from Bay and Midland counties, and I appreciate Maj. Gen. Rogers for briefing me as I work through my subcommittee’s budget-setting responsibilities over the next few months for all National Guard activities in the state,” said Glenn, whose husband served with the 1460th Transportation Company in the 1990s.
The Guard will not mobilize entire medical units, Rogers told Glenn, because that would take doctors and nurses away from their civilian healthcare duties at a time when hospitals and other medical facilities are under increasing pressure as the number of coronavirus victims increases. She said some surgeons, however, who are part-time Guard members and are no longer performing elective surgeries in their private practices — under a gubernatorial executive order banning such procedures — are volunteering for full- or part-time military duty.
Glenn said according to Rogers, the Guard has no plans or expectations of being mobilized for law enforcement duties or to suppress civil unrest.
“They stand ready, however, as always, to help keep our people, hospitals, medical supplies, neighborhoods, and businesses safe if called upon to do so,” she said.
In addition to the roughly 300 National Guard members currently on active duty in Michigan, including three each at state veterans’ homes in Grand Rapids and the Upper Peninsula, the status of other Michigan National Guard units is as follows:
• A Michigan Air National Guard unit has returned from deployment overseas but is currently still in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
• Two other units who were already scheduled and in the process of training and deployment will not have their plans altered at this time.
Monday, President Donald Trump authorized Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to allow up to 3,000 Michigan National Guard members to be utilized for up to 90 days. They will help with some of the humanitarian and community needs in response to the coronavirus, with federal funds paying for the Guard activities.
Rogers also reported Michigan’s Veterans Trust Fund lost $11 million in stock market investments in March, but it still has $54 million on hand. That’s $4 million to spare over the $50 million the fund must, by state law, keep in its accounts, while using the interest to assist veteran relief efforts – typically to assist financially-stressed veterans with rent payments, groceries, and utility payments. No funds will be needed for the latter in the immediate future, however, since utility shutoffs have been suspended under the governor’s current declaration of emergency.
The fund dispersed $22,397 to 17 Midland County veterans in 2019, Glenn said, and $7,429 to five Bay County veterans.
Glenn invites citizens who have any concerns, input, or questions about the coronavirus, the state’s military and veterans services budget, or any other issue involving state government to call her at 571-373-1791 or email AnnetteGlenn@house.mi.gov.