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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-049 | May 20, 2020

This morning, nearly 46,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

The response is the largest use of the National Guard for a domestic operation since Hurricane Katrina. More than 51,000 Guard members responded to Katrina.

While Katrina response efforts were in a concentrated area along the Gulf Coast, COVID-19 response efforts have taken place in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

“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,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We’re very proud of being an important piece of the Air Force and the Army, but what we’re doing now for this pandemic is uniquely and distinctly National Guard business.”

The Wyoming National Guard’s 84th Civil Support Team is working with the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory to deploy the CST’s mobile laboratory to increase COVID-19 testing.

The mobile laboratory is equipped with a rapid diagnostic testing platform that will allow for more testing as well as a faster turnaround time for high-priority specimens.

Capt. Sarah Brewer, nuclear medical science officer, and Capt. Kevin Messamer, medical operations officer, run the mobile laboratory.

“They have been very flexible in applying their high-level skills to this particular problem and also done a lot of work in cultivating and developing the partnership with the state lab and the relationships that we have with the folks there,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Seelye, commander of the 84th CST. “I’m really proud of them for doing that.”


Nearly 60 days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the Michigan National Guard for COVID-19 humanitarian support, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general, Michigan Air National Guard, is reflecting on the challenges and triumphs of the Guard’s response.

“It has required a complete, joint response in order to appropriately plan, execute, and support

the state’s response to COVID-19,” Teff said. “It couldn’t be done with just one branch.”

Approximately 1,100 Soldiers and Airmen have teamed to bring aid to state and local agencies, responding to more than 65 unique requests for support. Areas of assistance include logistics aid for medical equipment, medical screening operations, planning augmentation, support for the construction of alternate care facilities, and COVID-19 testing.


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 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 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 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 Arizona National Guard is supporting 15 food banks in communities such as Nogales, Flagstaff, Tucson, Payson, Yuma, Snowflake and multiple locations within the Phoenix valley.

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 Arizona National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.az.azarng.mbx.azng-pao@mail.mil.

Members of the California National Guard continue to support food distribution across 18 counties. To date, the CANG has distributed more than 30 million meals. Food distribution has increased at the Napa Valley Food Bank site from 30 meals per day to 300 since onset of COVID-19.

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.

Members of the Colorado National Guard are testing at Life Care Center of Pueblo, and providing shelter support in 11 locations in the Denver metro area.

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 at ng.co.coarng.list.militarysupport@mail.mil.

The Florida National Guard has nearly 2,180 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 235,500 tests completed.

Additionally, the FLNG is providing a planner and support personnel to each of the state’s regional incident management teams with. These Guardsmen will assist in the planning of daily missions within their region and provide advice on the most efficient and effective use of FLNG personnel.

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 is providing 52 Infection Control Teams to support the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

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 Kansas National Guard is providing a mask fitting team to assist with the testing of all community-based testing site staff. To date, Guardsmen have completed more than 5,200 tests and delivered more than 1,125 cases of medical PPE to 23 countries.

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 at ng.ks.ksarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

Members of the Louisiana National Guard are conducting warehouse and logistics support by making more than 2,000 deliveries to distribute more than 25 million PPE items.

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 at ng.la.laarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

The Massachusetts National Guard is providing 180 soldiers and airmen with civilian medical backgrounds to support the state’s COVID-19 medical response effort.

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 at ng.ma.maarng.mbx.paoma@mail.mil.

The Minnesota National Guard is supporting the Minnesota Department of Health Services with 10 specimen collection teams at long-term health facilities across the state. The teams will conduct swab testing of staff and residents.

Additionally, the MNNG continues transporting cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to key locations.

For more information on Minnesota National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Scott Hawks at scott.d.hawks.mil.mil@mail.mil, 651-282-4789, or the Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs Office at mn.ng.web@mail.mil.

Members of the Missouri National Guard are continuing medical screening at 14 sites across the state. To date, the Guard has distributed more than 100,000 meals in support of School Meals Program.

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.

New Hampshire:
The New Hampshire National Guard is supporting New Hampshire Employment Security by manning a phone bank for those seeking unemployment benefits. Since the mission began, nearly 210 NHNG members have answered more than 82,000 calls from New Hampshire residents in need.

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 Mexico:
Members of the New Mexico National Guard are assisting the state’s COVID-19 response by conducting a coronavirus testing site at the Wellesley Health Center.

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 nearly 3,490 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 NYNG continues to support the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island, as well as three other potential alternate care sites on Long Island or Westchester.
  • The NYNG continues testing at five antibody testing sites, with 359 tests administered May 18. To date, 6,819 antibody tests have been administered.
  • 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 5,014 tests May 18. To date, 257,973 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 673,609 meals May 18. To date, soldiers and airmen have distributed nearly 12.1 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,112 meals May 18, and have provided 124,603 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 4,534 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 18.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 6,518 meals as of May 18.
  • 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, where 4,194 calls to veterans have been made. 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 30,000 kits May 18 for distribution across the state. The team has built nearly 1 million testing kits since starting the mission.
  • As part of a statewide effort to provide testing materials to nursing homes and adult care facilities, soldiers and airmen assembled 123,000 COVID-19 test kits May 16- 17.

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 providing interpretation services at the Second Harvest Food Bank to assist non-English speaking individuals.

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:
North Dakota National Guard members are ‘deep cleaning’ a congregate living facility in Fargo to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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.

The Oregon National Guard is helping consolidate and distribute PPE to medical and assisted living facilities, as well as tribal nations throughout the state. These efforts are especially focused on underserved communities.

For more information on Oregon National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Stephen Bomar at stephen.s.bomar.mil@mail.mil, 503-584-3885, or the Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office at agpa@mil.state.or.us.

South Carolina:
The South Carolina National Guard is utilizing the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination center to decontaminate 80,000 N95 masks daily. Guardsmen have been employing the system at McGrady Training Center in Columbia since early May, preventing a prevented a PPE shortage in the state.

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.

The Vermont National Guard continues to support Strategic National Stockpile Warehouse operations and meal distribution throughout state. To date, Guardsmen have distributed more than 650,000 meals.

For more information on Vermont National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Mikel Arcovitch at mikel.r.arcovitch.mil@mail.mil, or 802-338-3478.

West Virginia:
Nearly 685 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 1,115 missions across the state.

The West Virginia National Guard is prepared to assist the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Bureau for Public Health with COVID-19 testing at the Huttonsville Correctional Center.

Guardsmen, in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and county health departments, completed COVID-19 testing of more than 2,300 citizens in Berkeley, Jefferson, Mercer and Raleigh counties May 16-17. The WVNG will provide assistance for high-density population testing in Cabell, Kanawha, Marion and Monongalia counties May 23-24.

WVNG has conducted 2,839 COVID-19 tests for 88 lane support missions and 3,065 tests as part of their overall response mission.

Guardsmen continue to provide PPE training for various businesses, state agencies and first responders. To date, this team has trained 4,018 personnel across 725 businesses and 100 medical or long-term care facilities.

Additionally, the WVNG assisted in the delivery of 2,310 meals to Webster, Tyler and Braxton counties via refrigerated trailer May 18.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, delivered PPE to eight of 55 county emergency managers May 18.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue to assist with sanitizing first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 411 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams, supported 101 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements and expedited 68 specimen transfers to the state lab May 18. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted 7,287 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 at ng.wv.wvarng.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil.

The Wyoming National Guard CST is working with the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory to deploy its mobile laboratory in an effort to increase COVID-19 testing. To date, Guardsmen have assisted in testing 788 samples.

For more information on Wyoming National Guard activities, please contact the WYNG state PAO Deidre Forster at deidre.m.forster.nfg@mail.mil, 307-772-5253, or the Wyoming National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.wy.wyarng.list.pao-distribution@mail.mil.