RALEIGH, N.C. – Fifty North Carolina National Guard Soldiers deployed to the PNC Arena to support a mass vaccination clinic for COVID-19 operations March 4.
The Soldiers, assigned to the NCNG’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team and 113th Sustainment Brigade, directed vehicle traffic and provided logistical and administrative support at the center, led by Wake County Emergency Management staff and volunteers.
“We broke into teams where emergency management felt they needed us,” said NCNG Maj. Kelbey Glass, assigned to the 113th Sustainment Brigade and a leader with the support team.
Each morning the Soldiers prepared for more than 2,000 people who had registered online. Tents and shelters for civilian staff were assembled, traffic entry points marked and supplies distributed.
“They (arena and Carolina Hurricanes staff) have been very hospitable to us,” said NCNG Master Sgt. Glenn Bunch, assigned to the 113th SB and a support team platoon sergeant.
The Soldiers began directing traffic as the center opened at 8 a.m. There was a steady flow of cars, and patients were vaccinated in their vehicles.
Guard members kept track of each registration lane, guiding drivers to the lane with the shortest line so they could process people efficiently.
Soldiers checked the registration of each person needing a vaccination and helped those with incomplete paperwork.
“We make things run smoothly,” said NCNG Sgt. Justin Spivey, assigned to B Company, 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team.
After the initial check, drivers were guided across the large parking lots to several tents with civilian medical technicians who administered the COVID-19 vaccine.
Once patients were vaccinated, the Soldiers led them to a waiting area where other civilian medical personnel stood by in case of any adverse reactions to the shots.
When operations ended at 3 p.m., the Soldiers broke down the tents and shelters and stored them with other equipment in secure trailers for use the next morning.
Since vaccinations began in North Carolina, NCNG Soldiers and Airmen have assisted with vaccinations at sites across the state. Over the past year, NCNG personnel distributed more than 4.3 million masks, 7.9 million sterile gloves and other personal protective equipment to medical workers statewide.
Guard members have driven over 241,000 miles across North Carolina delivering food and PPE.