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The State of Montana is sending 165 National Guard personnel to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States.

Public Information Officer Maj. Dan Bushnell provides details of the deployment.

“We’ve activated about 165 soldiers of the 44th Military Police Company, the 143rd Military Police Company, and members of the Headquarters Company, first of the 163rd  Combat Arms battalion, so  in totality about 165 soldiers.”

Maj. Bushnell said the National Guard personnel will be fully armed as they deploy to the nation’s capitol.

“They have been requested with all of their assigned equipment which includes their weapons,” he said. “Now, it is not the Montana National Guard’s determination whether or not they will carry those weapons. That’s really because they will fall underneath civil law enforcement authorities when they arrive there and begin their mission as to whether or not they will be they will be carrying those weapons.”

Maj. Bushnell said the Guard personnel have been fully trained in controlling urban confrontations.

“Utilizing techniques and tactics to deescalate a situation, that’s really our primary focus is to deescalate situations,” he said. “We don’t want to escalate them, and so it’s a lot of use of verbal techniques of hand gestures, as well as using the equipment that they’re provided, such as shields, as well as helmets and those kinds of things to try to deescalate that situation.”

Maj. Bushnell said the Guard personnel’s training makes them ideal for whatever that may confront in Washington, D.C.

“These two MP companies already are trained in this,” he said. “They do this as part of their required training. Its part of their mission set, so this is really a refresher for them to ensure that it’s readily available in their memory banks and in their muscle memory. Those techniques are necessary to keep the peace during this very powerful transition of power in the United States.”

Governor Greg Gianforte will be addressing the National Guard personnel just before they fly out on Saturday evening at about 8:30 p.m. via four C-130 Hercules from the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing.

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