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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-039 | May 5, 2020

This morning, more than 46,800 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Forty-four 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 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. “We know this virus doesn’t treat everyone equally and our senior citizens are at increased risk. In many states, Governors have directed National Guard members to help sanitize long-term care facilities, nursing homes; giving older citizens and families and caregivers peace of mind that their environments are safe.”

The National Guard empowers members to question existing processes and to develop innovative measures that enhance our ability to support our communities. At a news conference April 30, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, announced that a pilot project testing the sanitization of HVAC systems through aerosolized hydrogen peroxide was validated at 99.999% effective.

West Virginia’s Task Force Innovation conducted this test at the Federal Aviation Administration building in Charleston. This team will work to refine the process and do additional testing.

This is the second innovative measure undertaken by the WVNG in support of the COVID-19 response. In April, the WVNG partnered with researchers from West Virginia University and other educators, as well as business and industry leaders from across West Virginia, to produce N95 masks.

The WVNG continues to contribute their diverse skill sets that support missions across the state, helping West Virginians in all 55 counties.


Securing the homeland from COVID-19 has not impeded the National Guard from meeting its other priority of providing the Army and Air Force lethal forces capable of fighting in an array of complex environments.

Soldiers from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Field Artillery Brigade, who are deploying in support of coalition operations in the Central Command area of operations, participated in the first virtual deployment ceremony conducted by the Oklahoma National Guard.

Instead of loud cheers, applause, the ringing of cowbells, waving of homemade signs, and children dressed in patriotic clothing yelling for their mom or dad standing in formation, there were thumbs-up, tearful and smiling emojis, and streams of comments on the 45th Field Artillery Brigade and OKNG Facebook pages, where the May 3 ceremony was broadcast live.

About 200 family members and friends of the soldiers watched online instead of in-person due to the threat of spreading COVID-19 to the deploying soldiers.

Spc. Ashley Bruce-Sparrow, a high mobility artillery rocket system gunner with Battery B, said she feels comfortable deploying with her unit and is ready to do her job. Despite the battery deploying while many Oklahoma Guardsmen are working COVID-19 response, she said every person in the Guard has a unique role to play.

“I don't think anything is more important than anything else,” Bruce-Sparrow said. “Everything has to come together in the end. One thing cannot be labeled more important than the other if you have to cohesively work together.”


“The National Guard is a big part of the United States Army and the United States Air Force and we’re proud of that,” Lengyel said. “But this role that we play here at home, in the homeland under the command of the governors in our states, is distinctly and uniquely National Guard business.”

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

  • Augmenting medical staff at hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to protect our most vulnerable populations;
  • 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;
  • 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, 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 Arizona National Guard is supporting 20 food banks throughout the state.

For more information on Arizona National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Aaron Thacker at aaron.c.thacker.mil@mail.mil, 602-267-2619, or the AZNG Public Affairs Office email at ng.az.azarng.mbx.azng-pao@mail.mil.

The California National Guard has distributed more than 18.7 million meals at 28 food banks serving 19 counties across the state; screened or tested 1,770 residents in four shelters in three counties; Guard medical support teams have screened or tested 12,278 people and seen 8,971 patients at 14 medical sites; and the CANG has provided vital logistical support by packing and shipping 623,740 masks, 319,560 gloves, 195,720 test kits and 751 ventilators.

For more information on California National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma at jonathan.m.shiroma.mil@mail.mil, or 916-854-3391.

The Florida National Guard has more than 2,695 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.

The FLNG continues supporting community-based testing sites, and mobile testing teams throughout Florida. To date, this effort has resulted in more than 130,500 tests being completed.

Additionally, more than 120 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 Louisiana National Guard is conducting medical testing at 11 sites with more than 25,600 people tested to date.

For more information on Louisiana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Ed Bush at edward.m.bush.mil@mail.mil, 318-290-5027, or the Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.la.laarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

More than 1,040 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response, with an additional 5,000 service members ready to assist.

Across 24 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 is assisting school lunch programs, ensuring students who rely on school meals do not go hungry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 Mexico:
The New Mexico National Guard has activated more than 600 soldiers and airmen, distributing PPE, transporting test specimens, assisting with traffic control, and distributing water to the Pueblo and Navajo nations.

For more information on New Mexico National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Joseph Vigil at joseph.l.vigil21.civ@mail.mil, or 505-474-1102.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 3,635 personnel on mission, across six joint task forces statewide to support state and local governments with logistics management and warehouse operations. They also provide medical staff at New York City hospitals and testing sites.

NYNG members continue to manage Javits as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. The Javits New York Medical Station, placed at the Javits Convention Center, is now phasing out. More than 1,095 patients 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.
  • The NYNG expands its testing for the community with five new antibody testing sites, located at: Orange County Community College, Newburgh; Erie Community College, North Campus, Williamsville; Onondaga Community College, Syracuse; Harriman State Office Building Campus, Albany; and Nassau County Community College in East Garden City. More than 300 tests were administered May 3.
  • NYNG is supporting 15 drive-through testing sites, providing administrative and logistical support, medical support at select sites and mask-fit testing services.
  • Guardsmen conducted 3,061 tests May 2. The sites are: State University of New York Stony Brook; Jones Beach State Park; Staten Island (adjacent to Staten Island University Hospital); 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; Linden Blvd. in Brooklyn; SUNY Albany; Niagara County Community College in Sandborn; SUNY Binghamton; Griffiss International Airport in Rome; and Monroe County Community College in Rochester. 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 316,272 meals May 3. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 5.2 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,234 meals May 1, and have provided 97,628 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 3,011 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 1.
  • NYNG soldiers and airmen have been working at the regional food bank in Latham, and have prepared 225 pallets of food for shipment across northeastern New York.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 3,406 meals May 1.
  • 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 local governments is ongoing, with two deliveries in Staten Island and Brooklyn scheduled for May 5. A total of 50,946 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 and airmen continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They assembled more than 9,400 kits May 2 for distribution across the state. The team has built 523,710 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.

Rhode Island:
The Rhode Island National Guard is supporting operations at hotels housing COVID-19 positive homeless populations and others who require family distancing.

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.

More than 540 members of the Virginia National Guard are assisting the state with testing, distribution of food and key supplies, as well as training people how to properly use PPE.

For more information on Virginia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Cotton Puryear at alfred.a.puryear.civ@mail.mil, 804-236-7892, or the Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ngva.pao@mail.mil.

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 821 missions across the state.

Guardsmen assisted in delivering 2,505 meals to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour and Gilmer counties via refrigerated trailers. At both the Mountaineer Food Bank and Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington, Guard personnel assisted in inventory and sanitizing the facilities to prepare for operations this week. At the Mountaineer Food Bank alone, the WVNG provided support for the packaging of more than 1.7 million meals for families in 48 of West Virginia’s counties in April.

Guardsmen provided PPE training to West Virginia Exceptional Youth Emergency Shelter and the David Children’s Shelter, as well as area healthcare facilities and seven retail establishments. To date, this team has trained 3,552 personnel across 985 businesses and 83 medical or long-term care facilities.

In addition to training, this team has also conducted 279 COVID-19 tests for lane support and 2,508 tests as a part of their response mission.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 285 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 28 counties May 1 and delivered supplies to all 55 of the state’s counties last week. To date, they have delivered more than 1 million items across West Virginia.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resources’ regional epidemiology teams, supported 30 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 5,060 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.