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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-037 | April 30, 2020

This morning, more than 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 and ready to support civil authorities in the communities they live and work.

“The National Guard is the nation’s first military response force in times of domestic crisis,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “Whether it’s helping people do testing, or helping people with awareness... the National Guard can help the nation deal with this crisis.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive demand for personal protective equipment, astute distribution management of masks, face shields, gowns and gloves is paramount. The endeavor requires a full-time commitment of manpower and muscle to sort, store, secure and deliver a steady stream of PPE to first responders and healthcare professionals.

Enter a dedicated team of New Hampshire Army National Guard citizen-soldiers. Eight Guard members were activated late March to spearhead an around-the-clock warehousing operation to support their state’s citizens in Concord. The bolstered mission now features 15 warehouse warriors.

Daily duties include stacking boxes, driving forklifts, loading trucks and delivering orders to six distribution centers. To date, nearly 1,700 orders comprising an estimated 100 tons of freight have been delivered.

As the state continues to replenish supplies, the warehouse is quickly restocked on the backs of Guard members working long hours six to seven days a week, sometimes late into the night. But despite the grueling work and long hours, morale is high and soldiers remain motivated.

“The most rewarding thing is when you go out on a delivery and people literally say, ‘You’re a lifesaver,’” said Staff Sgt. Carey Morris, noncommissioned officer in charge. “People are so excited to see us. They’re like, ‘We have to take your picture!’”


More than 530 members of the Virginia National Guard are supporting COVID-19 response efforts, including testing for the coronavirus, demonstrating how to use PPE and distributing food and medical supplies.

VNG soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are supporting planning teams and assisting with logistics in multiple Virginia Department of Emergency Management regions.

“I am extremely proud of the great work from our personnel supporting Virginia’s COVID-19 response, and I know we are putting their skills, experience and knowledge to good work where it is making a difference,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia.

“We are now posturing forces to be able to provide additional capabilities to help our fellow Virginians, and we will continue to work with our state agency partners to make sure any support we can provide will be ready when it is needed,” he said.

“I signed up for the National Guard to fight for my country, but in the Guard, you can fight for your country and also make a difference in your own community,” said Sgt. Kenneth Wilson.


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

  • Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver and distribute life-saving medical equipment and critical supplies;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Augmenting medical staff at hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to protect our most vulnerable populations;
  • Working with industry and civilian partners to satisfy demand for PPE used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed, Guardsmen conduct this important mission with respect and dignity;
  • Building, staffing, and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks and other personal protective equipment 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 execute an effective response;
  • Providing timesaving support to local law enforcement, freeing officers to perform their duty 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, sample delivery and processing;
  • 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 Florida National Guard has more than 2,745 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 nearly 1 million 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 1,800 members of the Massachusetts National Guard are activated for a variety of missions, to include delivering PPE to first responders, food bank operations, drive-through testing and mobile testing teams, and medical staff assisting at public hospitals.

For more information on Massachusetts National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Don Veitch at don.h.veitch.civ@mail.mil, 339-202-3950, or the Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.ma.maarng.mbx.paoma@mail.mil.

New Hampshire:
The New Hampshire National Guard continues to support around-the-clock warehousing, creating a steady stream of providing PPE to first responders and healthcare professionals across the state. To date, they’ve delivered 1,700 orders, an estimated 100 tons of freight.

For more information on New Hampshire National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Gregory Heilshorn at gregory.d.heilshorn.mil@mail.mil, or 603-225-1340.

New York:
The New York National Guard has more than 3,650 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 1,095 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 is supporting 12 drive-through testing sites. A test site at Niagara County Community College opened on April 29, and a site at the State University of New York, Binghamton opens April 30.
  • Guardsmen conducted 4,800 tests April 28, with more than 175,400 tests administered at NYNG-supported sites through April 28. 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; SUNY Albany campus; Niagara County Community College in Sandborn; and SUNY Binghamton. 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 three new testing locations, in central and western New York, later this week. These sites will be located at: the Buffalo Sabres Parking Lot in Buffalo; 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 205,525 meals April 28. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 3.3 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 3,184 meals April 28, and have provided 90,408 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 2,589 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of April 28.
  • NYNG soldiers and airmen have been working at the regional food bank in Latham, and have prepared 139 pallets of food for shipment across northeastern New York.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 2,558 meals April 28.
  • A one-time 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 107 gallons delivered April 28. A total of 50,228 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 where 250 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, and the Orange County Medical Examiner.
  • 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 15,500 kits April 28 for distribution across the state. The team has built 462,350 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 conducted more than 25 delivery missions of PPE to 80 counties across the state, logging nearly 49,000 miles to ensure medical facilities and other locations have the essential items they need.

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.

Oklahoma National Guard members are assisting at two food banks that have seen a 60 percent increase in demand for food assistance while having to decrease volunteers due to essential-staff-only restrictions.

For more information on Oklahoma National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Geoffrey Legler at geoffrey.j.legler.mil@mail.mil, 405-228-5037, or the Oklahoma National Guard Public Affairs Office at 405-228-5212.

Rhode Island:
The Rhode Island National Guard delivered more than 800 sampling kits to five locations across the state, and collected more than 300 samples for transport.

For more information on Rhode Island National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Dennis Pineault at dennis.n.pineault.mil@mail.mil, or 401-680-3092.

Washington National Guard members continue supporting food banks. They have provided more than 800,000 meals, which is approximately 6.4 million pounds of food. Additionally, they continue to support COVID-19 testing, having tested more than 1,300 people at sites throughout the state.

For more information on Washington National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Joseph Siemandel at joseph.f.siemandel.mil@mail.mil, or 253-512-8005.

West Virginia:
Currently, 705 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 732 missions across the state.

Guardsmen provided PPE training to Eldercare of Ripley, area healthcare facilities and six retail establishments. To date, this team has trained 670 stores, 3,382 personnel and 77 medical or long-term care facilities.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 225 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 14 counties April 29.

Guardsmen assisted packing 1,200 box meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 596 family meal boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington April 28. In addition, they delivered 4,520 meals to Greenbrier, Ohio and Raleigh counties via refrigerated trailers April 29.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resources’ regional epidemiology teams, supported 214 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 4,343 voluntary COVID-19 mapping cases.

For more information on WVNG 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.

The Wisconsin National Guard is supporting sample collection across the state, with more than 3,000 samples collected from eight sites to date.

For more information on Wisconsin National Guard activities, please contact the WING state PAO Maj. Brian J. Faltinson at brian.j.faltinson.mil@mail.mil, 608-242-3059, or the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ngwi.pao@mail.mil.