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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-041 | May 7, 2020

This morning, more than 46,500 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 as busy as it’s been for a very long time, and I’m proud to say we are trained and we are ready,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

In the month of April alone:

  • National Guard members distributed 2 billion items of personal protective equipment from FEMA throughout the nation.
  • National Guard members packaged, served or delivered nearly 44.2 million meals for those in need to include schools and other state or community-based organizations.
  • National Guard members supported almost 1,600 testing sites and so far, tested 750,712 people for COVID-19.
  • National Guard members moved, packaged or delivered more than 34,000 tons of bulk food to support food banks and other government or community programs.
  • In 11 states, National Guard members drove more than 533,000 miles to deliver personal protective equipment, food and other essential supplies.
  • In eight states, National Guard members manned call centers to take, or receive, nearly 329,000 calls to provide COVID-19 related information, assist over-burdened unemployment agencies, or to assist other community or government organizations.
  • In seven states, National Guard members added almost 6,000 beds to alternate care facilities, the Veterans Administration and other sheltering facilities.
  • National Guard members disinfected 1,091 long-term care facilities, nursing homes, correctional facilities, VA centers, shelters and other public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The National Guard provided 556 liaison officers and planners to support multiple government agencies in battling COVID-19.

“In every single state across our nation we have Guardsmen … who are working together with first responders and all of the organizations and agencies to help shepherd us through to the other side of this pandemic,” Lengyel said. “What we’re doing now for this pandemic is uniquely and distinctly 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

Iowa Army National Guard pilots helped transport COVID-19 tests from a Test Iowa site in Sioux City to the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville May 4.

The pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Mauss and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brandon Burrows, along with helicopter maintainer Sgt. Jason Humke, with Company A, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Security and Support, transported the tests in a UH-72 Lakota helicopter.

Air transport missions are expected to continue as Test Iowa sites across the state provide those who may have come in contact with COVID-19 the opportunity to be tested for the virus.

“To keep the lab running efficiently, ideally we want to have as many test kits there as we can,” said Capt. Brad Nolan, assistant operations officer, 67th Troop Command and Task Force East. This requires getting test kits to the SHL as quickly as possible.

Previously, the test kits had been driven by Soldiers with the 109th Multifunctional Medical Battalion from the Test Iowa sites to the SHL in trips that could take up to six hours, Nolan said.

While Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines suggest that tests can be viable for more than 72 hours if kept at the appropriate temperatures, immediate transport is recommended and both efficiency and safety are primary goals in the National Guard’s support of the state’s response to the pandemic.

“Put simply, this will save us time,” Nolan said.


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 operating an emergency drive-through food distribution site in Anchorage. Additionally, they are preparing the forward staging of PPE, as well as supporting Kodiak Emergency Operations Center in conducting COVID-19 public outreach mitigating measures in support of the Kodiak Harbormaster.

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.

The Delaware National Guard is assisting a community-based testing site at Frederick Douglass Middle School in Seaford. The drive-through clinic provides blood tests and nasal swab screenings for essential employees and at-risk populations.

For more information on Delaware National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Bernie Kale at george.b.kale2.civl@mail.mil, or 302-326-7010.

The Florida National Guard has 2,465 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 nearly 148,000 tests being completed.

Additionally, the FLNG will provide logistical and administrative support to the state’s mobile test lab. This lab will make stops throughout the hardest-hit counties, providing rapid testing for the most “at-risk” members of the population.

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 Illinois National Guard is now operating a sixth testing site in Waukegan. Guardsmen are assisting in testing approximately 500 people per day at this site.

For more information on Illinois National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Brad Leighton at bradford.e.leighton.mil@mail.mil, 217-761-3539, or the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.il.ilarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

The Indiana National Guard opened a new testing site at the armory in Valparaiso, where they are assisting in testing about 400 people per day.

For more information on Indiana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Randi Jo Bougere at randi.j.bougere.mil@mail.mil, 317-247-3105, or the Indiana National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.in.inarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

The Kansas National Guard continues conducting missions across the state. To date, they have administered approximately 3,000 tests, delivered approximately 200 cases of PPE to 15 counties and delivered more than 200 meals in Leavenworth County as part of the Lawrence Food Distribution team.

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.

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 60 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.

Additionally, the MDNG continues supporting essential food distribution missions throughout Baltimore and Frederick counties, the city of Baltimore and on the Eastern Shore.

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 Prince Georges’ Health Clinic, 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.

New York:
The New York National Guard has more than 3,600 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 the unified command post at the Javits Convention Center for the multi-agency response. The Javits New York Medical Station, placed at Javits, 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, have completed a mission assisting in Elmhurst Hospital.
  • 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 850 tests were administered May 5.
  • 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 4,947 tests May 5. To date, 208,123 tests have been conducted at these sites.
  • 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 245,805 meals May 5. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 5.9 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 1,897 meals May 5, and have provided 101,352 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 3,320 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 5.
  • 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 4,228 meals May 5.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery to local governments is ongoing. A total of 53,533 gallons of sanitizer have been distributed since in the lower Hudson Valley the start of the mission.
  • The National Guard continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City where 200 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 19,970 kits May 5 for distribution across the state. The team has built 556,888 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 is conducting warehouse operations to include the distribution of PPE in Central North Carolina. Additionally, the NCNG has deployed critical capabilities in direct support to the NC Department of Health and Human Services and civilian authorities in order to mitigate effects of COVID-19.

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.

The Oklahoma National Guard is assisting with testing at long-term healthcare facilities in Tulsa. Additionally, the OKNG continues to support long-term healthcare facilities, provide logistics support to food bank and call center operations.

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 email at 405-228-5212.

The Pennsylvania National Guard is conducting classes on the proper wear and decontamination of PPE, providing medical support at long-term care facilities, delivering meals and providing supporting mortuary affairs transportation support.

For more information on Pennsylvania National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Keith Hickox at keith.w.hickox.mil@mail.mil, 717-861-6254, or the Pennsylvania National Guard Public Affairs Office email at RA-MVPUBLICAFFAIRS@pa.gov.

Puerto Rico:
The Puerto Rico National Guard is expanding operations in support Puerto Rico Government efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide relief following a 5.2 earthquake in the island’s southern region May 2. Approximately 1,000 Puerto Rico Army and Air Guardsmen, are operating under the command of Joint Task Force – Puerto Rico, and actively supporting ongoing response efforts.

In the first 50 days, the PRNG has expanded their mission areas to conduct testing of first responders, as well as residents in the island’s senior living facilities.

Additionally, JTF-PR led efforts in establishing a joint team of National Guard personnel, medical professionals and medical students to operate a COVID-19 Call Center at the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau. Now, the organization is moving forward to conduct a new mission to support the government with food distribution in communities throughout all 78 island municipalities.

As of May 4, Puerto Rico National Guardsmen have screened more than 82,295 people at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport and island regional airports.

National Guard teams are also conducting screening activities at three checkpoints in the San Juan port area where they have screened 16,630 truck drivers.

Guardsmen working in the call center have answered, processed and facilitated coordination and referral of more than 2,000 calls from concerned citizens, hospitals and other organizations seeking information, assistance or support.

The PRNG has also established 12 COVID-19 regional testing centers to conduct tests for first responders. Since May 1, National Guardsmen have tested 1,514 first responders.

Teams from the PRNG are ramping up efforts to reach approximately 1,800 senior living facilities throughout the island to conduct COVID-19 tests for residents and staff members.

For more information on Puerto Rico National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Paul Dahlen at paul.w.dahlen.mil@mail.mil, or 787-289-1441.

West Virginia:
More than 710 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 853 missions across the state.

The WVNG has partnered with the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, Mountaineer Food Bank, Facing Hunger Food Bank and West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, to establish a regional food distribution center in the greater Kanawha Valley as the need for supplemental and emergency food services continues to grow across the state.

Guardsmen assisted in packing 1,697 boxed meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank, 79 family meals boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington and 3,435 boxed meals at the Harrison County Board of Education food mission Clarksburg. Additionally, they delivered 3,900 meals to Ohio County via refrigerated trailers May 6. The team also supported the Facing Hunger Food Bank with their creation of a mobile food bank that delivered 198 meals to families May 5.

Guardsmen provided PPE training for employees from the Division of Highways, while also supporting training for area healthcare facilities and retail establishments. To date, this team has trained 3,693 personnel across 707 businesses and 85 medical or long-term care facilities.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, reports that they have enough PPE on hand to meet any surge capacity needs for hospitals, first responders, or long-term care facilities. To date, this team has delivered more than 1.3 million items of PPE to all 55 counties in the state.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue to assist with sanitization of first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 307 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resources’ regional epidemiology teams, supported 207 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements and expedited three transfers to the state lab May 5. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted more than 5,560 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.