Eight Montana residents were escorted home on Sunday by the Montana National Guard after coming off a cruise ship and then quarantined on an Air Force base in Georgia.

National Guard Public relations Officer Captain Dan Bushnell has details.

“On Sunday, the governor activated eight Montana National Guard soldiers to assist in the transportation of eight Montanans who had been quarantined on a cruise ship and then at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia,” said Capt. Bushnell. “Those folks were released and transported back to Montana by Montana Army National Guard soldiers yesterday. Those eight soldiers will come back off active duty today.”

Bushnell said the eight individuals were returned to their homes all over the state of Montana.

“They went to four separate locations,” he said. “There was Helena, in that one transport went first to Helena and then to Great Falls. There was another vehicle that went to Wise River and then the last vehicle went to Big Timber and on to Billings.”

Capt. Bushnell said the Montana National Guard has not yet been tasked with any missions dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic that has entered the state.

“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. We like to do that planning now to support Montanans in any way possible in times of need. The staff here at the headquarters in Helena is doing a great deal of planning and preparation for the possibility that we might be activated by the governor and or the Adjutant General of the State of Montana.”

Utilizing this transportation method provides the highest level of safeguard against potential spread of COVID-19. The Soldiers will sanitize the vehicles after the transport and they will not be used for 7 days. The Soldiers will also be monitored following the mission by the Department of Public Health and Human Services to ensure they continue to be healthy.

Two Montanans remain at Dobbins AFB quarantine area at their own request.

(photo courtesy of the Montana National Guard Public Affairs Office)