GREAT FALLS — About 600 Montana National Guardsmen and nearly as many civilians that work at Malmstrom Air Force Base were returning to work Monday.

The move comes after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly all 350,000 furloughed Defense Department civilian employees back on the job.

Hagel says he based his weekend decision on a Pentagon interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act, which was passed shortly before the partial government shutdown began.

The Malmstrom commissary will return to normal operating hours beginning Tuesday, and most other base services will return to normal.

However, a nuclear safety and security re-inspection that was scheduled for this week at Malmstrom is still postponed due to the shutdown, because there's no funding for government travel.

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The sad truth about Malmstrom is that no one would know that they are missing. The base has no mission anymore. Ever since the end of the Cold War in 1990, Malmstrom has nothing to do and nothing do strive for.

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