SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A team from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing (146 AW) is helping get food out to people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Projected as a 14-day mobilization, the 146 AW has provided some 80 Guard members to support and integrate with additional California National Guard units statewide.
U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Adam Goldstone, chief of optometry for the 146th Airlift Wing’s Medical Group (146 MDG) and his six Airmen began their day at the nonprofit Foodbank Santa Barbara County facility training how to stack and wrap pallets of donated material. After a quick course, the Guard members weaved through giant boxes of food scattered across the parking lot, organizing and loading the food on a truck for delivery to distribution centers.
Goldstone, an 18-year veteran with the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard, smiles as he and a member of his team wrap a giant pallet of food.
“One of the big reasons I joined the Guard was to be able to do missions like this,” said Goldstone. “It’s a scary time for a lot of people right now, and it feels good knowing that we can provide a little bit of comfort and help.”
Shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom activated the California National Guard March 20, the 146th Airlift Wing helped multiple California agencies providing humanitarian support, assembling medical beds and delivering food in Santa Maria, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara and Indio.
“This is what the Guard is all about,” said Goldstone. “We like being able to have the opportunity to get out there and start helping people in our communities. My team and I got activated and assigned to this mission pretty fast and we’re really happy to be able to give back to our communities when they need us.”