CAMP MABRY, Texas – Texas Military Department service members trained so they can support the Texas Division of Emergency Management and disinfect long-term care facilities where occupants have tested positive for COVID-19.
Army National Guard Soldiers with Joint Task Force 176 received personal protective equipment and sanitizing kits May 8 at task force headquarters at Camp Mabry in Austin. The following day, the National Guard’s 6th Civil Support Team trained them on how to administer the disinfectants and safely put on and take off protective gear.
“This mission is important to protect our most vulnerable population,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Warth, battle captain with the Texas Military Department’s Joint Task Force 176. Warth said National Guard disinfection teams will help sanitize facilities where occupants have tested positive for COVID-19.
“We will go in and ensure that residents are protected,” Warth said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Spc. Precious Watkins, a Texas Army National Guard culinary specialist assigned to Joint Task Force 176, said this mission hits close to home for her because she has elderly relatives who have endured significant health issues.
“In the class today, we talked about how people who have had strokes or heart attacks are more vulnerable to COVID-19,” Watkins said. “That’s a little scary for me.”
Maj. Peter Ammerman, operations officer with Joint Task Force 176, said National Guard members are capable of quickly learning and executing the mission because their dual role in the military and civilian life makes them well-rounded and adaptive.
“Not only are they Army Soldiers and Air Force Airmen, but they’re also civilians who do a lot of different things,” Ammerman said. “They’re able to get out there and truly do whatever the state of Texas asks them to do.”