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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-028 | April 17, 2020

This morning, more than 33,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Forty-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 National Guard troops remain in the fight longer.

“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 Guardsmen and women,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The National Guard continues to support community-based testing sites, create additional medical capacity, and transport and distribute medical supplies and food.

National Guard members’ diverse skill sets and commitment to people and readiness are vital assets to the whole-of- nation response. They are uniquely qualified to support civil authorities in the communities they live and work.

One of the most diverse states in the country, Washington has a number of communities that are especially vulnerable to misinformation without access to guidance from authorities in their native languages. Between February and April training assemblies, linguists with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion, Washington National Guard, translated 120 lines of text in 12 languages, producing a total of 716 translated lines. This effort required 332 staff hours.

“After talking with the state limited English proficiency office at the Washington Emergency Management Division before February drill, we were able to identify a critical need that the 341st was uniquely postured to support,” said Capt. Pawel Pucilowski of the Washington National Guard.

The Colorado National Guard is helping its State Emergency Operations Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers convert the Colorado Convention Center in Denver into a 2,000-bed medical shelter. About 50 soldiers will assist with warehouse operations such as tracking, inventory, and unloading of equipment..

The CONG transported U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, USACE commanding general, by Black Hawk helicopter Monday for site visits at the CCC and The Ranch Events Complex, in Loveland, a second location identified by the state for conversion to a medical shelter.

“Our Colorado National Guard warriors are helping our state and federal partners to build a medical shelter that will alleviate stress on our medical infrastructure,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mike Loh, the adjutant general of Colorado. “Our combined efforts will save lives.

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 Florida National Guard has more than 2,310 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status supporting efforts to combat COVID-19 throughout the state.

  • The FLNG has assisted in the testing of more 49,440 individuals for COVID-19 at seven drive-through CBTS locations.
  • National Guard mobile testing teams supporting special populations at long-term care facilities throughout Florida have tested more than 1,850 individuals.
  • Walk-up testing locations in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach are expected to begin public testing April 17 and 18 respectively.

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.

The Hawaii National Guard will be increasing to approximately 1,200 personnel across the state to support counties with COVID-19 response efforts. HING soldiers and airmen have been working with emergency management and civil defense personnel across the state of Hawaii in their efforts to control the spread of this virus.

Additionally, HING soldiers from 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery Regiment, returned from their year-long deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, arriving in Honolulu April 15.

They arrived via commercial charter flight from Texas, where they had been quarantined after their initial return from overseas. They were medically screened by fellow Hawaii Guardsmen, conducting that support mission at the Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Soldiers’ families waited in their cars outside the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Readiness Center to pick up their returning Guardsmen. The Guardsmen were released six at a time and picked up with no one exiting the car. No hugs or greetings were allowed to insure physical distancing with their friends and family. It was an awkward redeployment event that resembled a drive-thru with the products being the happiest soldiers in the world.

For more information on Hawaii National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Jeff Hickman at jeffrey.d.hickman@hawaii.gov, or 808-733-4258.

More than 230 Kentucky National Guard airmen and soldiers spent four days turning a fairground exhibit hall into an alternate care facility, which is now ready to accept more than 285 patients if needed.

For more information on Kentucky National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Stephen D. Martin at stephen.d.martin1.mil@mail.mil, 502-607-1898, or the Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office email at KYNG.PAO@mail.mil.

Currently more than 760 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.

The Michigan National Guard assisted in transforming a 350,000-square-foot section of Detroit’s TCF Center into a 970-bed hospital, augmenting Detroit’s regional health care system with tailored treatment for COVID-19 patients.

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.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 3,580 personnel on mission across the state, with six joint task forces to support state and local governments with logistics management, warehouse operations, as well as medical staff at Javits Center and New York City hospitals, and testing sites.

New York National Guard members continue to manage the Javits site as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. To date, more than 860 patients have received care at the Javits NY Medical Station.

  • New York Air National Guard pararescue airmen, who are trained as emergency medical technicians, from New York’s 106th Rescue Wing, are also assisting in city hospitals.
  • The NYNG is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.
  • NYNG supports ten drive-thru testing sites, supporting more than 6,000 test appointments April 16. The sites have seen more than 105,000 people since mid-March, and 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. Soldiers and airmen are collecting samples and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations.
  • National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City, providing more than 151,850 meals April 16. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 1.1 million meals.
  • Similar continuing missions in Westchester County provided 58,738 meal packages and Albany County where 1,172 meals have been delivered to quarantined residents. Support expands this week to the Westchester County Office of the Aged.
  • 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.
  • National Guard logisticians delivered 26 pallets of medical PPE to locations across the state April 15.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery continues for local government offices in Ulster, Rockland and Westchester counties. The National Guard delivered more than 33,335 gallons to local governments.
  • The NYNG continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. National Guard personnel are working with members of the Medical Examiner's Office to assist in the dignified removal of human remains when required. The support mission also includes assistance to the Westchester County Medical Examiner.
  • New York National Guard 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 provided response and support to more than 177,180 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 21,500 kits April 15 for distribution across the state, providing more than 161,300 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.

To date, the Texas National Guard has helped manufacture and distribute nearly 3 million items of PPE throughout the state. Additionally, TXNG soldiers and airmen have helped test 6,970 people at medical testing sites.

For more information on Texas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Laura Cross at laura.s.cross2.mil@mail.mil, 512-782-6045, or the Texas National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.tx.txarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

West Virginia:
Since beginning the COVID-19 response mission, the West Virginia National Guard has completed 414 missions through to combat the virus. Currently, 619 members of the WVNG are on duty across the state.

Additionally, The WVNG is increasing the number of soldiers and airmen on Title 32 status to 500 in support of the state’s COVID-19 response.

WVNG members are sanitizing more than 250 emergency services vehicles, ambulances and police vehicles using an innovative mobile sanitation system that releases a dry fog to kill harmful spores, viruses and bacteria.

National Guard communications experts continue working to expand capabilities for telehealth initiatives in the state. Additionally, Guard cyber experts are tracking various cyber-related scams, phishing attempts and ransomware issues that are related to COVID-19 and are sharing information with various state agencies for awareness and combatting nefarious actors.

WVNG conducted the first training sessions for 15 of 213 long-term care facilities in the state April 15. In addition, this team provided more than 95 retail training sessions on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear since April 15. To date, this team has provided this training to 532 stores and 1,817 personnel. This team also continues to support COVID-19 testing in seven locations throughout West Virginia.

WVNG’s mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact and in April 16, Guardsmen delivered 3,800 meals to Ohio County and packed more than 2,025 food boxes at the Mountaineer Food Bank and more than 290 meals at the Facing Hunger Food Bank.

National Guard data analysts working with the Department of Health and Human Resource’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 140 contact tracing engagements to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia. To date, the seven epidemiology teams have conducted more than 2,600 contact tracings.

For more information on West Virginia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Holli Nelson at holli.r.nelson.mil@mail.mil, 304-561-6762, or the West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.wv.wvarng.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil.