(USA Features) President Trump on Friday signed an executive order authorizing the Pentagon to call up military reservists for all branches of service including the Coast Guard to help civilian healthcare officials treat coronavirus patients.
“This will allow us to mobilize medical disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members, including retirees,” Trump said at a Friday briefing of the COVID-19 task force.
The Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, though it is considered an armed service, because of its federal maritime law enforcement national security role.
Under the order, the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security are authorized to order reservists from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to active duty for up to two years “not to exceed 1,000,000 members on active duty at any one time.”
“We have a lot of people, retirees, great military people, they’re coming back in,” Trump said, adding: “They don’t say, ‘How much?’ They don’t say, ‘What are we getting paid?’ They just want to come back in. It’s really an incredible thing to see. It’s beautiful.”
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement cited by the Military Times that following the executive order, “decisions about which individuals may be activated are still being reviewed.”
Hoffman noted further that the troops will mostly consist of units and personnel with high-demand medical capabilities whose mobilization won’t negatively impact their civilian communities.
“My administration is marshaling the full power of the American government, and we will do that, and that’s what we’ve done, and we will continue to do it until our war is won. Economic, scientific, medical, military, and homeland security—all of this to vanquish the virus,” the president said at Friday’s briefing.