NEWS | July 13, 2020

Nebraska National Guard helps distribute PPE across state

By Staff Sgt. Heidi McClintock Nebraska National Guard

LINCOLN, Neb. – Soldiers and Airmen with the Nebraska National Guard helped the state distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) across Nebraska from April to June.

Motor transport operators from the 1075th Transportation Company delivered PPE, including cloth and N95 masks, disinfectant wipes, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizer, gloves, surgical gowns and thermometers, for the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We deliver PPE to all of the DHHS departments,” said Master Sgt. John Bates, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the mission. “And we also provide PPE for all of our testing teams and various state organizations.”

Officials with the state partner agencies said they couldn’t be more appreciative of the work of the Nebraska Guard.

“The state was well-positioned because of the Soldiers and Airmen,” said Doug Carlson, chief procurement officer for Nebraska. “Their distributions to the local public health districts, hospitals, long-term care facilities, state agencies, and community agencies meant the difference between receiving PPE or going without. There is no doubt in my mind the state could not have been successful without the men and women of the Nebraska National Guard.”

The joint mission was not only an excellent opportunity for the Soldiers and Airmen to do their jobs and helps fellow citizens; it was also a learning opportunity as most of them found themselves working in a warehouse environment for the first time.

“For these Soldiers, they are getting to be able to do what their 88M (motor transport operator) jobs are,” Bates said. “And they are able to pick up skills on the warehouse side of the mission.”

Bates said the teams worked really well together. “It ran pretty smoothly,” he said.

The distribution team worked countless hours – often leaving the warehouse in Lincoln well before sunrise to deliver to the panhandle that same day.

“The Nebraska National Guard was instrumental in delivering vital PPE to the people that needed it most,” Carlson said. “Their mission focused on packing PPE allocations and then delivering it to almost 40 communities across the state.”

The distribution team delivered more than 5 million masks, 9,000 thermometers, 1 million surgical gowns, 21,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 63,000 goggles and 189,000 face shields.

“The distro team are professionals in every sense of the word,” Carlson said. “Their expertise, mixed with their desire to provide great customer service, should make Nebraska proud.”

“The state owes this team a debt of gratitude,” Carlson added. “When the state needed them most, they met the challenges.”