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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-035 | April 28, 2020

This morning, nearly 45,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Forty-three states, three territories and the District of Columbia have been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, providing governors with greater flexibility and ensuring National Guard troops remain in the fight longer.

National Guard priorities are COVID-19 testing and screening, as well as providing logistical support through warehousing and distribution of medical supplies and food. National Guard members are uniquely qualified to support civil authorities in the communities they live and work. Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help and we will not let them down.

“It’s widely accepted that when you have an emergency response, it’s best led by those from that state,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "When bad things happen in their neighborhoods, Guardsmen go running… to bring assistance and comfort to Americans. It’s very satisfying to be part of that community."

The commitment to serving their neighbors is personal for the soldiers of the Maryland Army National Guard’s 1229th Transportation Company in Baltimore.

“Most of the people in the 1229th are from the Baltimore area,” said Army Sgt. Ronnie Ricks, a truck driver with the unit, who said he’s seen neighbors and others he knows come through the lines while he’s been on duty at the distribution sites. “If they can’t get out [to grocery stores], then we’re just helping them out.”

Others in the unit agreed.

“I feel like I have a purpose here, knowing that I’m doing something for somebody,” said Army Sgt. Justin Tilman, a truck driver with the unit.


The National Guard has not let COVID-19 thwart recruiting efforts. Michigan Army and Air National Guard recruiting professionals are using online platforms like Facebook Live, Skype, Zoom, Twitter and FaceTime to meet with applicants and answer questions about how to join the Michigan National Guard.

“Recruiting is generally a face-to-face interaction business,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Shirkey, recruiting and retention superintendent, Michigan Air National Guard. “With the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing, recruiters have been able to become innovative in their recruiting tactics and continue to develop best practices.”

Recruiting is vital to success of the overall force and recruiters must still meet their missions. They are encouraged to adapt, develop and implement programs and tools to achieve success.

“We must constantly look forward, educating and empowering our Guardsmen to implement innovative measures. Innovation is in our DNA,” Lengyel said. “If you ever wanted to consider an organization to join, convince your friends the Air and Army National Guard is the place to be – with the added benefit of being called to duty in times of crisis at home.”

With the Michigan National Guard’s response to the novel coronavirus, there has been an increase in those wanting to serve their communities through the Guard. MING has seen a spike in online referrals and 29 enlistments in the past 50 days.


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

  • Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver and distribute lifesaving medical equipment and critical supplies;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Working with industry and civilian partners to satisfy demand for personal protective equipment used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed, Guardsmen conduct this important mission with respect and dignity;
  • Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Augmenting medical staff at hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to protect our most vulnerable populations;
  • Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks and other PPE for mission essential personnel;
  • 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;
  • Providing time saving support to local law enforcement, freeing 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;
  • Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Providing vital PPE training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are cared for;
  • Performing mobile testing and sample delivery;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals;
  • Disinfecting facilities crucial to the bottom line mission of saving lives

The National Guard Bureau 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 Columbia 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 community-based testing sites, 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 the Arkansas Department of Health and other state and federal partners in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Guardsmen are performing missions including: general call center and physicians’ call center operations support at the ADH; medical screening and testing at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and mobile sites; medical operations planning/analysis and logistics planning/analysis at ADH and Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, as well as the Joint Operations Center; warehouse operations supporting the distribution of PPE and medical supplies; and liaison missions at ADH, ADEM, and JOC.

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.

While serving food to those experiencing homelessness April 27, two Colorado National Guard members assisted a man who was choking, and are credited with saving his life.

For more information on Colorado National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Elena O'Bryan at elena.k.obryan.civ@mail.mil, 720-250-1051, or the Colorado National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.co.coarng.list.militarysupport@mail.mil.

The Florida National Guard has more than 2,900 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.

The FLNG continues supporting community-based testing sites, and mobile testing teams throughout Florida. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 90,000 individuals.

Additionally, more than 90 FLNG medical professionals are supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ alternate care facility at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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

The Georgia National Guard has 10 new mobile testing strike teams that will deploy to hot spots in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The GANG intends to test 1,500 citizens per day, with the capability to increase testing based on test kit availability.

For more information on Georgia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Patrick Watson at ray.p.watson.mil.mil@mail.mil, or 678-569-3957.

The Hawaii National Guard flew nearly 200,000 donated surgical masks from Oahu to Hilo to be distributed to communities across the island to prevent the COVID-19 spread.

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.

The Iowa National Guard is supporting the health department in the operation of the state's first drive-up testing site in Des Moines.

For more information on Iowa National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Michael Wunn at michael.a.wunn.mil@mail.mil, or 515-252-4582.

Kansas National Guard soldiers and airmen are working in a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified clean room to repack bulk products into consumer-sized packages for distribution.

For more information on Kansas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Katie Horner at catherine.f.horner.nfg@mail.mil, 785-646-1192, or the Kansas National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.ks.ksarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

New York:
The New York National Guard has more than 3,680 personnel on mission across the state, joint task forces to support state and local governments with logistics management, warehouse operations. They also provide 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 1,090 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. Additional forces are providing support at three other potential alternate care sites on Long Island or Westchester.
  • NYNG continues to support 10 drive-through testing sites. Guardsmen support an average of 5,000 test appointments daily, with more than 171,000 tests conducted to date. The 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. Soldiers and airmen are collecting samples and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations.
  • National Guard personnel continue packaging and distributing food today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City, and in Yonkers. They provided 171,988 meals April 26. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 2.7 million meals.
  • Similar missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,307 meals April 23, and have provided 82,490 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 2,432 have been provided to quarantined residents as of April 23.
  • NYNG soldiers and airmen have been working at the regional food bank in Latham, and have prepared 97 pallets of food for shipment across northern New York. Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 1,711 meals April 23. A similar food distribution mission began April 21 in Chenango County, where 2,804 meals have been distributed as of April 23. An additional food support mission was conducted April 24 in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, where 1,000 meals were distributed.
  • New York soldiers and airmen continue conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at six sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery to areas in the lower Hudson Valley is ongoing, with deliveries to four locations April 27. A total of 48,906 gallons of sanitizer have been delivered to local governments.
  • The National Guard 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. A similar mission is expected to begin in Orange County.
  • NYNG soldiers continue to man phones at two New York City call centers, including one for the New York City Division of Veterans Services. Soldiers also continue to provide administrative support at two New York City 911 call centers.
  • 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 20,300 kits April 26 for distribution across the state. The team has built 426,850 testing kits 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 518-786-4581.

North Carolina:
The North Carolina National Guard has more than 935 soldiers and airmen on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response.

To date, the NCNG has conducted 242 PPE delivery missions to 77 counties across the state, logging nearly 48,640 miles to ensure medical facilities and other locations have the essential items they need.

The North Carolina Guard’s 42nd CST, based in Greenville, has tested more than 370 employees of Mountaire Farms chicken processing plant in Siler City. This effort has been supported by local and state health officials and the plant’s health and safety officer.

The Guard is also involved in food distribution; supporting multiple food banks across the state; and delivering meals to long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and schools. At the state’s food banks, Guardsmen have packed more than 4,850 boxes food; repackaged more than 5,790 products and distributed more than 34,280 meals. At schools, Guardsmen have produced 500 meals, and distributed more than 5,280 meals.

For more information on North Carolina National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo at matthew.r.devivo.mil@mail.mil, or 984-664-6244.

North Dakota:
The North Dakota National Guard is assisting the state’s health department with drive-through testing of first responders in Fargo.

For more information on North Dakota National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Amber Schatz at amber.r.schatz.mil@mail.mil, or 701-333-2007.

South Carolina:
The South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing saluted medical professionals and first responders with a statewide flyover of more than 60 hospitals April 27 to demonstrate appreciation to the thousands of heroes on the front lines.

For more information on South Carolina National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Cindi King at cynthia.m.king4.mil@mail.mil, or 803-299-4327.

West Virginia:
More than 700 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 674 missions across the state.

Guardsmen provided PPE training to West Virginia State Police, area healthcare facilities and retail establishments. To date, this team has trained 660 stores, 3,184 personnel and 67 medical or long-term care facilities.

Soldiers and airmen are also assisting drive-through COVID-19 testing lanes at three locations.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 177 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

Guard members from Task Force Innovation conducted an additional validation test at the Federal Aviation Administration building April 27, using aerosolized hydrogen peroxide to sanitize HVAC ducts. The process to receive results of the test takes up to 48 hours.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, continues their mission of distributing PPE to various county emergency managers. They pushed supplies to two counties April 27.

Guardsmen assisted with inventory and sanitization at both food bank locations in Gassaway and Huntington. WVNG personnel delivered 2,205 meals to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour and Gilmer counties via refrigerated trailers April 26. 3,952 meals were delivered to Braxton, Wirt, Pocahontas, Webster and Tyler counties April 27. The West Virginia Guard will transport 15,000 meals from Tamarack to Peterstown and Mountain View Elementary schools.

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.