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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-025 | April 14, 2020

This morning, more than 30,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Thirty-four states, three territories and the District of Columbia have been approved federal funds under Title 32 status, providing governors with greater flexibility and ensuring their Guard force is cared for. Six requests are moving through the approval system.

“Nearly three-out-of-every-four people you see in uniform today supporting testing centers or delivering critically needed medical supplies and food are likely National Guardsmen and women,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Guard members supporting COVID-19 continue to focus on expanding bed capacity and providing clinical support at medical facilities; supporting community-based testing sites; and packaging, transporting and distributing critically needed medical supplies and food.

“Americans should know the National Guard has their backs throughout this crisis. We’ll get through this together," said Lengyel.

National Guard members have been pioneering new ways to support their communities. A Puerto Rico Air National Guard airman is taking an innovative approach to the shortage of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. After reading about 3D printing enthusiasts in Europe making plastic face shields, 1st Lt. Jose Arroyo, a cyberspace operations officer with the 156th Communications Flight, contacted the 156th Wing’s emergency operations center and offered to make plastic face shields for Airmen supporting the pandemic response.

“They asked me to make some for security forces. I told him I was super happy to help,” said Arroyo. Arroyo then contacted some of his teammates and together they produced 15 face shields the next day for the 156th Security Forces Squadron defenders. “In unity there is power,” said Arroyo.

Florida National Guard soldiers are taking a more active role today at the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. April 15 will mark the start of soldiers working alongside first responders supporting the JFRD’s CBTS.

The Jacksonville site is the largest CBTS location in Northeast Florida. It will continue with the same operating hours and will be equipped to test 400 people a day.

Current National Guard COVID-19 response missions include, but are not limited to:

  • Full-time, 24-hour state Emergency Operations Center staffing to synchronize National Guard efforts with local and state mission partners to plan and execute an effective response;
  • Working with industry and civilian partners to satisfy demand for personal protective equipment used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks and other protective equipment for mission essential personnel;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guard members are safe;
  • Placing full-time, 24-hour staff at state Emergency Operations Centers to synchronize National Guard efforts with local and state mission partners to help facilitate a unified and rapid response;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed. Guard members are conducting this important mission with respect and dignity;
  • Supporting local law enforcement, freeing police officers to perform their duties in the communities they serve;
  • Conducting traffic control support and helping manage foot traffic in public spaces and community shelters;
  • Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Supporting warehouse operations and logistical efforts by delivering lifesaving medical equipment and critical supplies;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Manning call centers with a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Performing sample collection and delivery to medical personnel;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals.

NGB facilitates integration and synchronization of National Guard support to civil authorities and associated planning between states, the Department of Defense and federal partners. Guard units frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well- suited for domestic operations.

The National Guard's Coordination Center is a 24/7 operation working at increased capacity in anticipation of COVID-19 requirements and to ensure unified and rapid response efforts between its state and federal partners. The National Guards of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Colombia have a very deep bench of nearly 450,000 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals.

National Guard members work and live in every community across the nation and have a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities after homeland emergencies. The National Guard has unique capabilities, such as its Civil Support Teams, that could provide local first responders with additional resources to combat COVID-19.

For information regarding this press release, please send an email to the National Guard Bureau Media Operations desk at ng.ncr.ngb-arng.mesg.ngb-media-desk-owner@mail.mil.


National Guard COVID-19 Response Efforts and State PAO Contact Information:

State priorities continue to focus on supporting CBTS, creating additional medical capacity, and providing logistical support to include transportation and distribution of PPE, medical supplies and food.

The depth and breadth of knowledge and skills the National Guard brings to the COVID-19 fight is making a difference in the communities they serve; it is truly neighbors helping neighbors.

The Arkansas National Guard has more than 75 soldiers and airmen on state active duty supporting state and federal partners in the fight against COVID-19.

Missions include:

  • Manning call centers at the Arkansas Department of Health where both general and physicians calls are averaging 540 calls per day.
  • Staffing the mobile triage center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with medics who are screening and testing more than 100 patients daily.
  • Assisting the Arkansas DOH and the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management with logistics, medical, and communications analysis and planning, as well as liaison missions.
  • Supporting logistics operations, handling and distribution of PPE and medical supplies. The team unloaded six tractor trailers, and processed 10,400 boxes of supplies April 12, in addition to the more than 36 pallets of supplies processed to date.

For more information on Arkansas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Brian Mason at brian.l.mason2.mil@mail.mil, 501-212-5020, or the Arkansas National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.ar.ararng.mbx.daily-guard@mail.mil.

More than 2,260 Florida National Guardsmen are currently mobilized in support of the state’s COVID-19 response. Ten Mobile Testing teams continue sampling missions statewide, and have conducted more than 820 tests to date, as the number of facilities requesting remote testing continues to increase daily.

The FLNG continues CBTS support at eight sites with two more opening in Broward County today. These sites have assisted in the testing more than 41,290 Floridians.

TF AID continues to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers alternate care facility at the Miami Beach Convention Center with medical professionals and planning expertise.

Additional FLNG mission sets include airport screening at seven airports, logistics and commodities support, mission command, liaison activities and planning. These include 500 soldiers at four locations (Flagler, Lakeland, Miramar and Miami) to provide support, as needed, for a variety of missions to include food distribution, traffic control, security, etc.

For more information on Florida National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. M. Caitlin Brown at mary.c.brown26.mil@mail.mil, or 904-823-0164.

Maryland National Guard members distributed food at 30 sites over Easter weekend, serving more than 23,000 meals to local residents.

For more information on Maryland National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Kurt Rauschenberg at kurt.m.rauschenberg.mil@mail.mil, 410-576-617927, or the Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.md.mdarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

Currently, more than 675 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response, with an additional 6,600 service members ready to assist.

Across nine counties, members of the National Guard are supporting requests from our local communities and state agencies. Response missions include food distribution, Strategic National Stockpile Support, screening operations, reception and staging, supply and logistics management, state Emergency Operations Center staff augmentation, and alternate care facility support.

Joint Task Force – Michigan includes more than 120 Guardsmen to coordinate National Guard response efforts across the state.

For more information on Michigan National Guard activities, please contact Capt. Andrew Layton, deputy PAO, at andrew.b.layton.mil@mail.mil, or 517-481-7735.

A multi-disciplined medical team from the Missouri National Guard is providing patient care at alternate care sites.

For more information on Missouri National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Breig at joshua.h.breig.mil@mail.mil, 573-638-9846, or the Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office email at mo.ngpao@mail.mil.

New Jersey:
Men and women of the New Jersey National Guard are helping set up an alternate care site in the Atlantic City Convention Center. The facility will provide 250 beds for non-COVID-19 patients.

For more information on New Jersey National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Barbara Brown at barbara.g.brownwilson.mil@mail.mil, or 609-530-6939.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 3,560 personnel on mission across the state with six joint task forces to manage logistics, warehouse operations, medical staff at Javits Center and New York City hospitals, and testing sites.

  • The New York National Guard is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.
  • The New York National Guard supports ten drive-thru testing sites, supporting more than 6,000 tests per day. Sites are located at: SUNY Stony Brook; Jones Beach State Park; Staten Island; Glen Island State Park in Westchester County; Anthony Wayne Service area in Rockland County; Lehman College and the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx; Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, Flatbush in Brooklyn; and the SUNY Albany campus in Albany. Since the first test site was set up in Westchester County 100,000 people have visited these sites.
  • National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City, providing 10,724 meals April 13. To date soldiers have distributed more than 830,640 meals.
  • Similar missions resume in Westchester County in New Rochelle where more than 50,755 meal packages have been distributed; and Albany County where more than 830 meals have been delivered to quarantined residents.
  • New York soldiers and airmen are also conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at six sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley.
  • Deliveries of PPE April 12 included 5,000 isolation gowns to Tioga County and 8,000 surgical masks to local governments.
  • The NYNG continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.
  • New York Army and Air National Guard personnel are working with members of the Medical Examiner's Office to assist in the dignified removal of human remains when required.
  • A similar mission is being conducted to support the Westchester County Medical Examiner.
  • NYNG members continue to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline by working call centers in Rotterdam and Brooklyn to offer updated information to the public. Soldiers speak with an average of 3,300 callers each day at each site and have handled more than 167,510 callers since the mission began.
  • Soldiers continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They assembled more than 8,500 kits April 13, and have provided more than 109,600 since starting the mission.

For more information on New York National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Richard Goldenberg at Richard.l.goldenberg.mil@mail.mil, or 518-786-6150.

The Tennessee National Guard is assisting at 37 testing sites and supporting nursing homes with patient movement as needed.

For more information on Tennessee National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Christopher Messina at christopher.g.messina.mil@mail.mil, or the Tennessee National Guard Public Affairs Office at tnpao@live.com, or 615-313-0633.