The Baker-Polito Administration announced on Monday that the Massachusetts National Guard has successfully completed its school transportation mission. From September 14 – November 5, 2021, nearly200 Guard members drove thousands of routes and travelled over 300,000 miles, ensuring nearly 15,000 safe pick-ups and drop-offs for students throughout the Commonwealth.
In response to requests for assistance by local government officials, Governor Charlie Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard to support school districts amid an unprecedented, national shortage of bus drivers. Governor Baker’s order made available 250 Guard personnel for transportation assistance. With the local school districts who had requested assistance now able to meet transportation needs through civilian drivers, the Guard is now able to conclude its mission.
“The Commonwealth is grateful to the men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard for answering the call and supporting the safe transportation of students in communities across Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By working collaboratively with local districts who requested assistance, the Guard was able to provide critical school transportation support at a time when schools, students and families needed it most.”
“Time and again throughout its history, the Massachusetts National Guard has stepped up to serve the communities of our Commonwealth, and that has never been more true than during the last year and a half,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the members of the Guard who supported this mission, and thank them for their service.”
In total, the Guard provided school transportation support in 13 districts, including Brockton, Chelsea, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, Revere, Wachusett (regional), Woburn, and Worcester.
Final Mission Metrics:
• 236 Soldiers participated in the mission
• 14,626 student pick-ups and drop-offs
• 329,224 miles driven
• 3,002 total routes
• 13 total municipalities supported
To successfully perform this mission, more than 190 members of the Guard completed the driver’s certification process to operate transport vans known as 7D vehicles. In accordance with school transportation worker requirements, the orientation process included vehicle training, background screening, as well as a thorough review of all health and safety measures.
Beyond those certified as drivers, approximately 40 members of the Guard provided operational support for the mission.
The Massachusetts National Guard trains regularly with law enforcement, civilian, and other military agencies to provide a broad spectrum of services in support of security, logistics, disaster relief, and other missions. The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities. Their frequent side-by-side training with state and local first responders makes them well-suited for a variety of missions.