Boots & Sabers

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1217, 14 Sep 21

National Guard Called out to Bus Kids

I’m beginning to suspect that there is a bit of mission creep in the National Guard.

The National Guard has been mobilized in Massachusetts to ferry kids to and from school amid a nationwide shortage of bus drivers exacerbated by COVID.


Up to 250 members of the Guard will be activated to address the shortage, following a direct order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to deploy the servicemen, as school and state officials across the country have been forced to deal with the dearth of drivers.

The stated mission of the Guard is:

The Army National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).

Does a bus driver shortage really meet this threshold? Remember that members of the Guard have day jobs. They have to leave those jobs, travel away from their families, and give up their personal time when they are called into action. I expect that serving members are more than willing to do that to keep a city from being burned by rioters, helping recover from a hurricane, or going to actual war, but to drive kids to school?

Given the personal sacrifices that Guard members make whenever they are called up, we shouldn’t be so cavalier about it. They are not just a bunch of temp employees for the governor to use at will. They have a specific mission.


1217, 14 September 2021


  1. Mar

    I disagree, to a point.
    When the Guard is called up, they are considered active duty and get the pay and benefitsan active duty of the military gets. So many, especially the young ones might getting a boost in pay and benefits.
    This would be easily one of the best deployments a Nation Guard member could get. Stay at home, get full time pay and benefits and just need to handle some rowdy kids.
    If they come in full gear, including weapons, the kids probably won’t be much trouble.
    And given the area size of Massachusetts, how long will their routes be? Maybe an hour?
    Now, if this was in my school district in Arizona, their routes maybe 3 hours one way.
    I have no.problem with this.

  2. Mar

    Just for reference, our school district covers over 3,000 square miles.

  3. Mark Hoefert

    The National Guard have also done COVID testing, vaccinations, and election poll support. Because “COVID”. I

  4. Merlin

    Nope, nope, nope.

    This is a shit for brains abuse of the Guard and not at all surprising that it’s happening in Massachusetts. The military should not be used to solve the private employment failures of public school districts to recruit and retain school bus drivers (or adequately contract with private enterprises to do so). The excuses for the failure don’t matter. Covid or no Covid, it should not be the responsibility of the military to get little Johnny to school in the morning. Liberals seem to have arrived at the conclusion that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time to get away with crap like this.

  5. Pat

    Sounds like a shit for brains Republican governor.

  6. Mar

    I wouldn’t talk, Pat. At least he has brains, unlike you, who just has fluid and maggots in your skull.

  7. Tuerqas

    Does anyone, even you Pat, believe that the lack of bus driver hiring across the US has not been part of the plan of the public schools fighting tooth and nail NOT to go back to work? It is the same tactic that the Dem Party is using to keep lower paying jobs incentivized not to work made manifest by their followers. If the Dem Party didn’t see it coming, heh, the law of unintended consequences is a bitch. How can they train their next generation? They programmed their teachers to listen to exactly what they say, and they said this new virus is a horrid killer that they should do everything possible to avoid at all times. Last year disrupting schools won elections with fear, but now those idiot teachers are supposed to have the common sense to see that a virus is just a virus? It must be so hard to find good programmers.

  8. Pat

    Who called out the National Guard?
    I believe it was the Governor. And Merlin responded that the action was, “ shit for brains abuse of the Guard ”. I was agreeing.

  9. Pat

    That’s quite the conspiracy theory you’ve woven, Tuerqas.

  10. Tuerqas

    Thanks, it’s my specialty. Not really much of a conspiracy, just a another public school tool.

  11. Tuerqas

    Yes, Pat, good job. The post is indeed about a shortage of public school bus drivers. Gold star for you.

    And in the Private school bus drivers department…nope. Not facing the same problems…

  12. Pat

    And here I didn’t think you were bright enough to know it was a post about the shortage of school bus drivers.

    A blue ribbon and attaboy for you!

  13. Merlin

    Massachusetts received $5.3 billion in federal ARPA aid in May… of which they’ve spent a whopping $100 million. They have the resources to buy schools bus drivers at whatever price it takes to get them hauling kids. If it takes $25/hr and going-rate bennies then that’s what it takes. Get it done. The excuses are pure bullshit.

  14. Mar

    It’s really thought to be a bus driver nowadays.
    First, you have to work split shifts, mornings and afternoons at most places.
    When school is out, you don’t get paid unless there is some training.
    Then you deal with nosy and rowdy kids and try and multitask while driving.
    And if you get into an accident, even if it is not your fault, your insurance rates go up.
    And then there are some parents you just do not want to deal with.

  15. Tuerqas

    That’s okay Pat. I was already aware of your…shortcomings. I figured since there was no relevance to the actual post or commentary in your link save the blatantly obvious, you may need the positive affirmation. Still looks like you do.

  16. Mar

    You have to her credit Tuerqas, she is moving up the evolutionary ladder.
    At least she did not quote from a Twitter account.
    So, she should get the participation ribbon for the day.

  17. dad29

    Whoever thinks members of the NG are ‘paid pretty well’ for active duty time is nuts. Military pay for non-officers usually comes in at about half (or less) of what one earns in the real world. There is no pension accrual unless the duty is at least 1 year; however the health plan is pretty good, if there’s a VA hospital nearby.

    That is NOT ‘good duty,’ and Merlin is right: it is also NOT highest/best use of trained killers.

  18. Mar

    “it is also NOT highest/best use of trained killers.”
    Most people in the Guard and military are in support positions, including bus drivers and paper pushers.
    “the health plan is pretty good, if there’s a VA”
    Or a military base or hospital.
    “Military pay for non-officers usually comes in at about half (or less) of what one earns in the real world.”
    But they get also get free meals, housing or housing allowance. Pay for an E-3 is about $2400 per month, rounded up, when they are active duty.
    If you are a kid just starting out, you might get paid better than Taco Bell but you won’t get the training, educational opportunities.
    It’s not for many people, granted.
    And as far as deployments go, this one is an easy one.

  19. dad29

    Every member of the NG is trained to kill, regardless of their eventual MOS.

    NG’s get ‘free housing’ while at summer camp or on deployment where your housing may be a foxhole.

    $15.00/hour (40 hours/week) is better than Taco Bell. So what? If you’re pulled off your $80K/year HR administration job or journeyman electrician job, umnnhhh…… have a problem.

    The details of how NG’s are compensated for driving the bus are not clear in that story.

    Still and all…….it’s not a good idea.

  20. Mar

    Chelsea, MA has about 2.5 square miles. Not sure why those little darlings could walk to school.
    Lawrence is about 7.6 square miles.
    Lowell is about 14 square miles and Lynn is about 13 square miles.
    If done right, the guards could do a route in the morning and then go to their day job.
    And then another group would take over the 2nd shift.
    And those guards who want to do both shifts, great.
    As far as those who might lose pay, the guards know this and is part of the job.
    Just like volunteer firefighters. I was one and I knew there were times when I would miss holidays, birthdays, weekends etc.
    It’s part of the job.

  21. Mar

    Another example, I was in the hospital for a few days last week. One of the nurses was a federal nurse and lived in Maryland.
    She got sent to Kingman, AZ. in the middle of nowhere.
    It’s part of the job.

  22. Mar

    One last example: When I got out of the Air Force, I was put in the inactive Reserves. Didn’t mean much, especially since President Reagan was in charge.
    But I was subject to recall for I think two years.
    It’s the chance you take when you are in the military.

  23. Mar

    “Every member of the NG is trained to kill, regardless of their eventual MOS.”
    Umm, not true.
    In my my case, during basic, and at the gun range, I hit the target 2 out of 200 times because of my eyesight and the insistence of the Air Force insisted I wear their glasses
    The only way I could kill someone is if if there was a battalion of Fat Albert’s to fight against.
    Might explain was I stuck in Minot North Dakota for 4 years.

  24. dad29

    We all know about the Air Force.

  25. Merlin

    Heh. They’ve always had some of the coolest toys, tho.

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