NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Connecticut National Guard Soldiers have helped turn a 175,000-square-foot warehouse into a primary distribution center for medical supplies in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trucks arrive filled with personal protective equipment, medical supplies and equipment, and members of the Guard organize the supplies for delivery throughout the state.
“Right now we’re a command-and-control element that’s overseeing inbound and outbound deliveries of medical supplies,” said Master Sgt. Nicole Mackay, 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. “Supplies come in from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and various equipment orders, and we help organize those supplies to get them where they need to go.”
The first Soldiers arrived March 28 and operations were up and running by March 30. Twenty-two Soldiers are supporting three shifts at the warehouse for 24-hour operations.
The distribution center is one of many locations where the Connecticut National Guard has provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic in support of the governor’s office and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Guard members have also supported donation centers and constructed mobile shelters at local hospitals for potential patient use.
The Guard members in New Britain, like many around the state, have applied their training and experience to adapt to the evolving situation the state and nation faces. Guard members come from many backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience from their civilian careers and education. Some of the team leaders in New Britain have worked for major logistics companies such as Amazon.
“This is something so unique and different from other things we’ve seen,” said Mackay. “I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to have such a great group of Soldiers who have stepped up and are willing to be here.”
The Guard is building interoperability with other organizations to effectively support the state’s response mission, said Mackay.
“Everybody is stepping up as team players right now,” said Mackay. “We’re in collaboration with the civilian workers here, and every day we’re working and improving our operation, and hopefully making a positive impact every day we come to work.”