The National Guard has been called upon to perform many tasks. They’ve deployed overseas and responded to natural disasters. In recent years, the Guard has been especially active, mobilizing to support police during protests following the death of George Floyd; to secure Washington, D.C., following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; to help distribute vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19); and to assist with the construction of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In Massachusetts, 250 personnel were mobilized to drive school buses

Now, New Mexico has become the first state in the nation calling upon its National Guard troops to serve as teachers, as an ongoing surge of COVID-19 infections leaves many schools struggling to meet the staffing requirements needed to remain open. 

The Guard personnel would join a cadre of 500 state workers deploying to keep classrooms open.

“We’ve determined that we have enough state employees, with the volunteer support with the Guard, to get to that 500 fairly readily, and that’s just looking at key departments like the education department and veterans department,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said Wednesday. 

National Guard personnel do have some experience in education. One Virginia National Guardsman even managed to keep teaching his band students while he was deployed to Washington, D.C. It remains unclear, though, how the presence of National Guard troops might change the dynamic of the classroom. How might a captain or sergeant first class function as a school teacher? 

7:00 a.m. – Maintenance

Spc. Cameron Caruthers, a Mena, Ark., native, and motor transport operator with 606th Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, works on a faulty lawn mower during spring cleaning at the 17th Fires Brigade barracks, April 11, 2013. 606th "Outlaw" soldiers conduct spring cleaning on their area of operations for the same reason they apply uniform and hairstyle standards daily: to maintain a professional, clean-cut appearance that promotes pride and functionality. While Caruthers doesn't live at the barracks, he's a strong believer in teamwork and didn't want the soldiers residing there to have to do all the work on their own. "I volunteered for this because single soldiers at the barracks maintain the area constantly, and I thought I should help them do that," Caruthers said. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathan Goodall, 17th Fires Brigade Public Affairs)
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathan Goodall)

8:00 a.m. – Attendance and roll call

FORT JACKSON, S.C. – Drill sergeants, Larry Davis (left), Felicia Evans (middle), and Andrew Hamilton (right) conduct instruction during morning formation on Aug. 22, 2016.  All three drill sergeants are part of Foxtrot Company, 1-34 Infantry Regiment, currently training Soldiers at Fort Jackson, S.C. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Michael Adetula, 206th Broadcast Operations Detachment)
(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Michael Adetula, 206th Broadcast Operations Detachment)

“When I say school starts at 7:00 that means you are here, ready to go, at 6:45. If you walk in at 6:59 you are already late.”

9:00 a.m. – Math class

Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, 25th Infantry Division work with M119 Howitzers to enhance their basic artillery skills on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, June 14, 2020. Cannon Crewmembers from the "On Time" Battalion play a vital role during missions by supporting ground forces, handling ammunition, operating weapon systems, and calculating targets. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Stephanie Snyder)
(U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Stephanie Snyder)

“I hope everyone brought their slide rules, because we will be doing manual calculations for gunnery.”

10:00 a.m. – Recess

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Suhr)
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Suhr)

11:00 a.m. – Book report presentation

“I will now discuss Long John Silver’s OODA Loop in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.”

Noon – Lunch

National Guard photo
(Wikimedia Commons)

The lunchroom has been renamed the “warrior restaurant.”

1:00 p.m. – English class

Kevin Fuqua, the Lean Six Sigma / Continuous Process Improvement Deployment Director at Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provided training on Root Cause Analysis to the Far East District. (U.S. Army)
(U.S. Army photo)

“Sir, why does it say why eight times on the 5-Why analysis slide?”

“It would behoove you to not ask any more questions.”

2:00 p.m. – Phys-Ed

Soldiers from 5th Armored and 402nd Field Artillery Brigades, do 150 four-count flutter kicks led by Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, First Army, at Fort Bliss, Texas, April 28.  Bednarek led the motivational physical training session as part of team-building between the two brigades.
(U.S. Army photo by Maj. Jason Fetterolf) 

“The first exercise will be the bend and reach.”

“Starting position, move.”

“In cadence…”

3:00 p.m. – Science class

Officers in the Chaplain's Basic Officer Leaders Course prepare to exit the CBRN chamber, but only after receiving a brief introduction to a small dose of CS gas. The 104th Training Division (LT) facilitated the training at the facility. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)

“All students must learn the effects of CS gas and understand how to properly clear their masks.”

4:00 p.m. – Dismissal

“But not until we knock out a police-call of the grounds.”

National Guard personnel can do many things, and they are often called upon as the “Swiss-Army knife of the DoD (Department of Defense),” as Brig. Gen. John Driscoll, the Army Guard commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard said last year. Substitute teachers for schools may be pushing that definition to the limit, though. 

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