BALTIMORE – Maryland National Guard Airmen working at a Strategic National Stockpile have processed and distributed more than 1 million masks, gloves and other protective equipment to health care workers and hospitals across the state.
Up to 18 Airmen from the 175th Wing, based out of Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport in Middle River are sorting medical equipment and supplies at the Maryland site, preparing them for shipment and loading them on trucks for distribution during the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Maryland's Air Guard is uniquely qualified for these specialized missions that really complements our Army Guard teammates really well," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Edward Jones, assistant adjutant general for air, Maryland National Guard. "We may have smaller numbers in behind-the-scenes roles, but they are making a huge impact to the citizens of Maryland."
The Maryland Department of Health, along with Gov. Larry Hogan's COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, developed a plan to distribute the limited resources to health care workers and hospitals. The medical supplies, including masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other personal protective equipment, are allocated considering the level of need and predictive analysis, as well as access in the commercial pipeline.
The team built approximately 150 pallets, and every jurisdiction in the state received deliveries from the warehouse in the two weeks since the mission began.
"I am impressed with the team's ability to remain flexible and adaptive in a quickly changing environment while tackling a brand new inventory system," said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Andrasy, material management flight chief, 175th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard. "We are proud that our efforts have on the fight to combat this crisis we are currently facing."
The Strategic National Stockpile is the federal government's supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in severe public health emergencies that cause local supplies to run out. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains the stockpile at undisclosed locations throughout the United States.
During the coronavirus crisis, the Maryland National Guard is working alongside various agencies and civil authorities, such as the Maryland Department of Health.
"These Airmen have been doing a tremendous job of getting critical supplies to first responders on the front lines of this pandemic," said Army Brig. Gen. Adam Flasch, director of the joint staff, Maryland National Guard. "This is an interagency operation, so we could not do it without the direct support of our partners here at the state."
The Maryland Department of Health regularly works with the Airmen of the 175th Wing to train and be prepared for medical emergencies.
"Previous exercises and open lines of communication helped our team hit the ground running," said Col. Amy Kremser, commander of the 175th Mission Support Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard. "I can't tell you how impressed I am with the dedication all of our Airmen have shown during this time, especially when their families are through the same trials as those we are helping."