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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-036 | April 29, 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.

“We’re very lucky as a nation to have men and women who are willing to serve, not just in the National Guard, but in all of the first responder networks,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "When bad things happen in their neighborhoods, Guardsmen rush in… to bring assistance and comfort to Americans.”

New York Army National Guard Warrant Officer Christopher Gallant has seen both sides of the fight against COVID-19. After surviving the disease, Gallant is back on duty at the Javits New York Medical Station, where more than 1,090 coronavirus patients have been treated.

March 11 should have been a time to celebrate for Gallant, a full-time Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller, as he had just graduated from Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. By March 16, however, he was in self-quarantine with COVID symptoms.

“While in recovery, I had put in a request to volunteer for state active duty to help the COVID-19 response,” Gallant said, as throughout March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo activated the New York National Guard to bolster the state’s response to the pandemic.

Maj. Robert Freed, deputy commander for New York’s 24th Civil Support Team, approached Gallant about trying a COVID-19 test his team would administer at drive-through testing sites.

The team received some of the new serologic antibody test kits to use, and Gallant was the perfect candidate for the test, according to Freed.

The 24th CST is equipped with a mobile lab the team uses to find, identify and mitigate substances that are chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive. They can take these capabilities and use them as part of the COVID-19 response.

“We were excited that the antibody test was able to confirm Warrant Officer Gallant had built up antibodies for the COVID-19 virus,” Freed said. “Having a tool that can help get Soldiers and Airmen back to duty is critical to maintaining our effectiveness as a force.”

“The Guard is excellent at making quick work of large projects and does it well,” Gallant said. “We built something the world has never seen before and it would not have been possible without the great teamwork and knowledge that everyone brought to the table.”


The National Guard represents a tremendous value to the American taxpayer, as evidenced by . Air Guard efforts at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

“This group is like a well-oiled machine, and just having 25 of them here has made such a difference in just these first few days,” said spokeswoman Kathy Nestlen. “They are literally setting records for the number of emergency food boxes packed and the number of pallets that we're able to fill."

The food bank relies on 45,000 volunteers, said Nestlen. However, COVID-19 changed the way the food bank operates, forcing the facility to close to everyone but essential staff.

“That really impacts us being able to get food out – not having those volunteers,” she said. “So our staff [are doing] what the volunteers used to do.”

“Anytime there's an emergency of any magnitude – whether it be local or national – we are always just waiting to be called so that we can jump in there and help,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jonah McClung, a member of the 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron. “Whenever things happen, whenever something goes down, we want to be there to help in any way, shape or form that we can.”


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 CSTs 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 Alaska National Guard is sourcing and disseminating equipment and personnel to support local community organizations.

For more information on Alaska National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Candis A. Olmstead at candis.olmstead@alaska.gov, 907-428-6030, or the Alaska National Guard Public Affairs Office email at mvapublicaffairs@alaska.gov.

More than 420 Colorado National Guard members are activated, testing as many as 300 residents a day at a walk-up and drive-through testing sites, and supporting the city of Denver with sheltering those experiencing homelessness.

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 2,905 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 94,800 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.

More than 1,300 members of the Maryland National Guard continue supporting the state’s effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, more than 700 additional Maryland citizen-soldiers and -airmen are in an enhanced readiness status, capable of reporting to duty within a matter of hours.

Health and medical specialists from the MDNG’s medical detachment, 224th and 104th Area Support Medical companies have assisted at more than 50 nursing homes and children’s facilities. About 30 MDNG members are supporting the Maryland Department of Health as part of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation and suppression efforts, with multi-discipline assessment teams helping to safeguard the citizens at nursing homes and other facilities across the state.

Maryland Guardsmen are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore and Frederick counties, the city of Baltimore, and on the Eastern Shore.

Additionally, the MDNG is supporting the Baltimore City Department of Aging, the Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Salvation Army with the distribution of more than 7,000 meals to 43 senior facilities throughout the state.

Cyber specialists from the Maryland National Guard, Defense Force, and Department of Information Technology are assisting in the protection of virtual communities providing critical information related to COVID-19. The joint task force is evaluating Maryland government websites to ensure they function properly and present accurate information.

The MDNG continues to support Marylanders in need of screening at FedEx Field, Pimlico Race Course, Rawlings Conservatory, Maryland State Fairgrounds, vehicle emissions centers and the state house.

Additionally, the Maryland Air National Guard continues to process and distribute pieces of medical equipment and PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, these airmen have processed more than 3 million essential pieces of medical supply and PPE.

For more information on Maryland National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Kurt Rauschenberg at kurt.m.rauschenberg.mil@mail.mil, 410-576-6179, or the Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.md.mdarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

More than 815 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 13 counties, members of the National Guard are supporting requests from local communities and state agencies. Response missions include food distribution; 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 Guardsmen, coordinating 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.

The Missouri National Guard has delivered more than 70,000 breakfast and lunches to school-age children across the state.

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 at mo.ngpao@mail.mil.

Montana National Guard members are building a mobile, modular, alternate care facility that can be transported anywhere in the state depending on the medical need.

For more information on Montana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Dan Bushnell at daniel.r.bushnell.mil@mail.mil, or 406-324-3009.

New York:
The New York National Guard has more than 3,655 personnel on mission across the state, six joint task forces to support state and local governments with logistics management and warehouse operations. They also provide medical staff at Javits Center, New York City hospitals and testing sites.

NYNG members continue to manage Javits as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. To date, more than 1,090 patients have received care at Javits NY Medical Station.

  • New York Air National Guard pararescue airmen, 106th Rescue Wing, who are trained as emergency medical technicians, 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 conducted 3,766 tests April 27, with more than 174,900 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.
  • The NYNG is preparing to provide administrative and logistical support to five new testing locations, in central and western New York, later this week. These sites will be located at: Niagara County Community College in Sandborn; the Buffalo Sabres Parking Lot in Buffalo; the State University of New York, Binghamton in Binghamton; Monroe County Community College in Rochester; and Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
  • 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 267,676 meals April 27. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 3 million meals.
  • Similar missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,233 meals April 27, and have provided 87,224 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 2,620 have been provided to quarantined residents as of April 27.
  • 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 2,230 meals April 27. 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. Another one-time food distribution mission is planned for Delhi April 30.
  • 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 27,502 gallons delivered to four locations April 27. A total of 50,121 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 20,000 kits April 27 for distribution across the state. The team has built 446,850 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:
In a two-day span, North Carolina National Guard men and women packed 37,000 meals and sorted more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce into family-sized bags for distribution across the southeastern part of North Carolina.

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.

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 698 missions across the state.

Guardsmen provided PPE training to the Harrison County Health Department, area healthcare facilities and retail establishments. To date, this team has trained 6650 stores, 3,318 personnel and 74 medical or long-term care facilities.

Soldiers and airmen are assisting drive-through COVID-19 testing lanes at three locations. The team will conduct testing at the Weirton Geriatric Center April 29. To date, they have conducted 220 COVID-19 tests through lane support and 2,277 tests as a part of the overall response.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 202 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, continues their mission of distributing PPE to various county emergency managers. This team delivered PPE supplies to 12 counties April 28.

Guardsmen assisted packing 1,400 box meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank, and 202 family meal boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington April 27. In addition, they delivered 3,405 meals to Mercer, Mason and Wood counties via refrigerated trailers April 28.

West Virginia National Guard medical personnel augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resources’ regional epidemiology teams supported 182 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements and expedited three transfers to the state lab. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted more than 4,129 voluntary COVID-19 mapping cases.

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.