CADILLAC, Mich. – Michigan National Guard Soldiers at the beginning and the end of their careers are conducting COVID-19 testing of people across Michigan.
Last week, Task Force 182nd was in Cadillac providing free drive-through testing for any who drove up, all as part of their mission as members of the Michigan National Guard.
“For the past couple of months, we’ve been assisting with COVID-19 testing across the state with prisons, long-term care facilities, community events and even Soldiers for pre- and post-AT (annual training) testing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Emanuel Mosley.
A platoon sergeant for the task force within the 272nd Regional Support Group, Mosley was the one in charge of all the teams at the Cadillac event who were administering the tests. All of them want the participants to feel as comfortable as they can while taking the test.
“Anyway I can help, it doesn’t matter what it is if I’m able to assist anything to ease that anxiety that people may have,” said Mosley. “I understand this is a dynamic that no one ever experienced before unless you’re over 100 years old, this is something different that the world has to deal with, and I support it all the way, and as long as I’m here to help, I’ll do what I can.”
For Mosley, this means talking to people, explaining the test procedure and joking with them to ease any anxiety so the patients tell others, who then may be more inclined to get tested.
“I enjoy this. Having more than 19 years in and being toward the end of my career, this is something different. This virus hit the world unexpectedly and we were called up to participate,” said Mosley. “This has been great, and we’ve been enjoying ourselves as well as learning new things.”
After so many years in the Guard, this is the first time Mosley has participated in a state relief effort. Some of his Soldiers get to do it at the beginning of their careers.
“It definitely threw me in the deep end, but I love it. I’m actually really glad I get this opportunity because things like this don’t come along that often,” said Pvt. Tyler Stone. “I’m just really glad I got out of training in time for this, and that I was able to help in any way that I could.”
Stone completed his advanced training to become a medic a month before he was called up to be on this mission. He did not even have the opportunity to attend his first drill before he started performing tests across the state.
“Since we’ve opened, we’ve had non-stop people coming in, which is just fantastic because that’s what we’re here for. We love to see a big crowd,” said Stone. “We love to help the community in any way we can.”
Although the testing was conducted in the middle of the week, the turnout was far greater than expected. People driving up for testing included old and young people, along with a young adult baseball team coming after practice.
“After doing this, I think I will appreciate what the National Guard does even more because a lot of people don’t really understand all that we do,” said Stone. “Getting to be out here and actually working to make a difference in my community is great. I’ve loved every second of it. I think enlisting was the best decision of my life.”
Whether it comes at the beginning of a career or the end, the Soldiers conducting the COVID-19 tests appreciate what they are doing and how they are making a difference. The teams of Task Force 182nd have tested more than 60,000 people around the state of Michigan.