FRANKFORT, Ky. – COVID-19 has not stopped the Soldiers and Airmen of the Kentucky National Guard from deploying overseas to fill vital operational roles.
Soldiers assigned to the 1163rd Medical Company Area Support (MCAS), Kentucky National Guard (KYNG), are deployed to Poland and throughout Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"Being the only MCAS supporting forward operational troops during a global pandemic has elevated how vital our presence is to the health and well-being of U.S. Soldiers," said Army Maj. Stephanie Fields, commander of the 1163rd MCAS. "During the height of the COVID-19 surge, the 1163rd was medically managing six forward operating sites, not only for routine sick call but also conducting wellness checks for over 200 isolated Soldiers and over 500 quarantined Soldiers, relating to the pandemic."
The role of the 1163rd MCAS under Operation Atlantic Resolve is to provide expeditionary combat health services support and force health protection to forward rotational forces while working with the host nation and other partners to maintain interoperability and integration in the region.
"I am proud of the work that the Soldiers of the 1163rd are doing while deployed to Europe," said Army Col. Douglas Clay II, commander of 75th Troop Command. "It shows the expertise and professionalism that exists within our ranks."
Clay said this unit has been a great example of maintaining effective personnel readiness through adversity.
"From working through tornados in their train-up, to doing their job during a worldwide pandemic, they have maintained a high level of readiness and resiliency, which has made it possible for other service members to accomplish their mission as a result of the 1163rd's hard work," he said.
Without the 1163rd, U.S. service members would be entirely dependent on host nation medical facilities or have to travel more than eight hours to Landstuhl, Germany, where the nearest U.S. operated medical facility with MCAS capabilities is located.
Kentucky Soldiers of the 116rd MCAS have used the skills learned from the military, college and the civilian world to fulfill their unit's mission while abroad.
Fields said Sgt. Zachary Arny, a team leader in the 1163rd MCAS, is a great example of why the MCAS carries out its mission successfully.
"Throughout this deployment, he has conducted multiple missions dealing with delivering health care to US troops in remote areas with limited resources while occasionally fulfilling missions working on a two-man team requiring his clinical skills to be on-point, along with providing outstanding leadership," said Fields.
Arny has been a member of the KYNG for eight years and credits his successes overseas to the training he received in the military and college.
"This deployment has allowed me to become a better NCO and medical professional by placing me in situations that I did not experience back home," said Arny. "From managing the clinic floor to overseeing other Soldiers, I am more confident than ever in our team's ability to provide exceptional medical care to Soldiers and civilians."