The men and women of the RI National Guard are dedicated professionals with a desire to serve our state and nation. They, and their fellow National Guard members across the country, are now serving on the front lines of the response to this pandemic and providing critical support to states across the country.
Governor Raimondo announced on March 20 that she was activating the National Guard to support Rhode Islanders during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 900 Guard members are now training civilian medical personnel, staffing call enters, distributing food and necessities to the most vulnerable, and performing a number of other critical functions for our state.
On April 3, the Trump Administration approved a request by Governor Raimondo to use the RI National Guard under 32 U.S.C. §502(f), to perform humanitarian missions across the state during the COVID-19 crisis. This means that these soldiers and airmen have been activated in response to a federal mission, while remaining under the control, direction, and authority of the Governor. It also means that federal funds will cover many of the costs for the National Guard’s COVID-19 response in Rhode Island. I am pleased that the President extended the use of Title 32 status to May 31, which will allow these soldiers and airmen to receive their full active duty benefits, including access to TRICARE and credit towards retirement.
The CARES Act authorized $1.4 billion for National Guard deployments in response to the pandemic. This level of funding is enough to sustain up to 20,000 members of the Guard for six months.