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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-050 | May 27, 2020

This morning, approximately 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.

“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. “The men and women who put on this uniform expect to be called to duty and deployed around the world as part of the Army or Air Force. They expect to be called to duty for homeland emergencies, because that is a unique thing the National Guard does.”

Despite numerous adjustments to pre-deployment training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade is ready for its upcoming deployment to the Middle East. The brigade staff was forced to adjust many events, including rescheduling the pre-deployment training altogether.

“Our staff did a great job. We’re very fortunate … We had to cancel certain things because everything was shut down, and then they came up with a plan to bring everybody in over the last two weeks,” said Col. Howard Lloyd, commander of the 28th ECAB. “We knocked it out. It was very successful.”

Soldiers were required to complete the training while adhering to COVID-19 mitigation directives. Those directives included completing a health screening daily, wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing.

“We are very well-trained right now, and I do not see any impacts at all and any issues with us being able to do our mission downrange,” Lloyd said.


Sixty soldiers assigned to California Army National Guard’s Joint Task Force 224 began assisting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in Commerce in mid-April. They were activated to support the food bank because there was a heightened demand for meals coupled with a drop in volunteer numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By May 15, less than four weeks after soldiers arrived, the food bank had built more than 250,000 emergency food kits. This milestone equated to more than 5 million pounds of food products, which were distributed throughout Los Angeles County to those in need.

“Before the pandemic, we were only producing about a million pounds a month,” said Scott Newton, director of operations at the food bank. “In the last month, we’ve already done about 5.8 million pounds; that’s nearly six times the amount in the same time period that we’re used to.”

The daily goal is to build 10,000 kits, and the National Guard has been exceeding that amount.


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 Alabama National Guard is assisting Selma Health with preventing the spread of COVID-19, as well as cleaning at the Little Sisters of the Poor site in Mobile.

For more information on Alabama National Guard activities, please contact the Alabama National Guard Public Affairs Office at alngpao@mail.mil, or 334-271-7244.

Members of the Arizona National Guard are directing visitor check-in at a temporary COVID-19 testing site on the Navajo Nation, in Tonalea. The AZNG is also assisting the Department of Health Services with a statewide testing blitz with goal of testing up to 60,000 Arizonans this month.

Guardsmen also picked up three truckloads of food, donated by a private company, in Henderson and delivered it to a food bank in Mesa. The AZNG has activated more than 800 Arizona Guardsmen to support grocery stores, food banks and other community needs.

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.

The California National Guard is assisting the community during a drive-through food distribution event hosted by FIND Food Bank at La Quinta High School. The CANG has assisted statewide food bank efforts that have resulted in the delivery of more than 30 million meals.

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 Connecticut National Guard is assisting with the distribution of more than 2,000 COVID-19 test swabs.

For more information on Connecticut National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Dave Pytlik at david.c.pytlik.mil@mail.mil, or 860-524-4857.

The Florida National Guard has more than 2,380 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 279,500 tests completed.

Additionally, the Guard is conducting COVID-19 testing at a long-term care facility with the support of the U.S Public Health Service, Florida Department of Health, county health departments and other partner agencies. This effort is helping to meeting the state’s mandate to test all staff at long-term care facilities.

For more information on Florida National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. M. Caitlin Brown at mary.c.brown26.mil@mail.mil, or 904-823-0164.

Georgia National Guard soldiers and airmen have distributed 948,000 meals to approximately 50,000 families within the Atlanta public school district.

Additionally, the GANG has conducted infection control in 1,889 facilities and collected 42,677 samples for testing.

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.

Members of the Hawaii National Guard are providing medical logistics support to Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management, as well as conducting swab testing and N95 mask fit testing. Soldiers and airmen are also providing public health education to residents in low income housing.

For more information on Hawaii National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Jeff Hickman at jeffrey.d.hickman@hawaii.gov, or 808-733-4258.

Members of the Illinois National Guard are supporting the operation of nine community-based testing sites, as well as planning to establish two additional locations.

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 at ng.il.ilarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

The Iowa National Guard is supporting testing at seven community-based testing sites; delivering COVID-19 sample kits and PPE; voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements; call center support; and medical screening support throughout the state.

For more information on Iowa National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Michael Wunn at michael.a.wunn.mil@mail.mil, or 515-252-4582.

The Kansas National Guard is supporting testing of inmates and staff at Lansing Correctional Facility and conducing mask-fit testing in Shawnee County long-term care facilities.

Additionally Guardsmen are delivering commodities and test samples, providing medical screening support, as well as supporting five sites with non-congregate, long-term shelters.

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 supporting 44 missions statewide, including six testing sites; 17 logistic support and food bank missions, as well as making 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 Maryland National Guard is moving beds to the MedstarFranklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore. The MDNG is also transporting medical equipment and supplies to facilities across the state in response to COVID-19.

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 at ng.md.mdarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

More than 180 Massachusetts National Guardsmen, with civilian medical backgrounds, have been activated to join the area’s fight against COVID-19. The task force consists of 11 different teams, each composed of various medical specialists, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, certified nurse assistants, physician assistants, and registered nurses.

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.

Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are assisting the Department of Corrections with testing inmates at correctional facilities throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Additionally Guardsmen are providing assistance to food banks; handling medical equipment logistics; conducting medical screening operations; supporting warehouse operations in Detroit; and helping with power generation in Dearborn.

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.

Minnesota National Guard service members are performing COVID-19 testing at six National Guard armories across the state. The testing is being conducted in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Health and provided at no cost to individuals desiring a test.

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.

The Missouri National Guard is employing the Battelle PPE decontamination system at 14 sites across the state. The PPE decontamination mission prevented a PPE shortage. Additionally, the MONG continues to support the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response with testing operations, medical screening sites and call centers.

Additionally, Guardsmen are supporting testing at congregate living facilities and long-term care facilities, where they are conducting nearly 1,850 tests per day.

The Guard is also conducting medical screenings at 14 locations across the state to support the “State Workforce Return to Work” effort.

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.

Members of the Montana National Guard are conducting temperature screening operations at 11 airports and train stations across the state.

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.

The Nebraska National Guard is operating at 30 PPE distribution sites, supporting food bank operations, and assisting with alternate quarantine housing operations.

For more information on Nebraska National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes at kevin.j.hynes.mil@mail.mil, or 402-309-8390.

The Nevada National Guard has partnered with Three Square, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Highway Patrol, and Metro React volunteers to distribute food at the Palace Station Casino.

The NVNG is helping in this effort by setting up the site, providing traffic control and logistical support. To date, the Guard has helped provide more than 850,000 meals to local Las Vegas families.

For more information on Nevada National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Mickey Kirschenbaum at mikol.kirschenbaum.mil@mail.mil, or 775-887-7252.

New York:
The New York National Guard has nearly 3,410 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. To date, 8,160 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. To date, 280,471 tests have been conducted at these sites.
  • Guardsmen are currently conducting COVID-19 testing of staff and patients at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brooklyn.
  • 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 607,246 meals over Memorial Day weekend. To date, soldiers and airmen have distributed more than 15.3 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen have provided 133,722 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 5,029 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 21.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 7,672 meals as of May 21.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery to local governments is ongoing. A total of 63,268 gallons of sanitizer have been distributed in the lower Hudson Valley since the start of the mission.
  • The NYNG delivered medical supplies and COVID-19 test kits to 136 nursing homes and adult care facilities in the Bronx and Queens on May 26.
  • The National Guard continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City where 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 5,435 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 350,000 kits over the Memorial Day weekend for distribution across the state. The team has built more than 1.3 million 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 assisting the North Carolina Emergency Management with PPE distribution in Central North Carolina. Additionally, the NCNG is working with N.C. Emergency Management, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and local food banks to help support COVID-19 relief efforts.

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 Ohio National Guard is training medically-qualified service members to serve as members of sample collection teams to conduct testing support at long-term care facilities, as well as critical food production and packaging facilities.

For more information on Ohio National Guard activities, please contact Stephanie Beougher, state Public Affairs Office, at stephanie.k.beougher.nfg@mail.mil, or 614-336-7369.

The Oklahoma National Guard is assisting the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other state and federal agencies with controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s most affected areas in Guymon.

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.

Puerto Rico:
The Puerto Rico National Guard is helping to transport and distribute more than 400,000 N95 masks, as well as conducting COVID-19 testing for the elderly and first responders.

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

South Carolina:
South Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen are conducting rural testing site support operations at multiple locations across 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.

South Dakota:
The South Dakota National Guard is in the process of planning and preparing two alternate care facilities that are capable of supporting 100-200 beds in each location, as well as assessing needs for air and ground medical transport.

For more information on South Dakota National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Anthony Deiss at anthony.a.deiss.mil@mail.mil, or the South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.sd.sdarng.list.pao@mail.mil, or 605-737-6721.

Members of the Texas National Guard are testing and processing COVID-19 tests collected at a meat packing plant in Mount Pleasant. Additionally, the TXNG is testing employees at meat processing plants across the state to ensure that Texas’ food supply remains stable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TXNG’s mobile testing teams are helping to facilitate testing of as many as 3,500 persons daily, focusing on hotspots, including nursing homes and prisons.

Guardsmen are also staging pallets of PPE and bottles of water at the Westheimer Armory. The supplies are for distribution to local healthcare partners for use in the COVID-19 response missions throughout the state.

The TXNG is also performing free COVID-19 tests at a Mobile Testing Team facility at Hilliard Elementary School in Houston.

For more information on Texas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Rita Holton at rita.m.holton.mil@mail.mil, 512-782-6045, or the Texas National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.tx.txarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

The Vermont Army National Guard is assisting the Vermont Food Bank “Farmers to Families” Program, and Vermont Emergency Management, by distributing fresh produce, dairy, and prepared meals to Vermonters in need at Bromley Mountain in Peru.

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.

The Virginia National Guard is assisting with the collection of more than 12,000 test samples, conducting nearly 2,000 mask fit tests, and the distribution of more than 60,000 pounds of food. To date, Guardsmen have driven nearly 49,000 miles supporting supply and delivery missions for 41 state agencies and county-level emergency operations centers.

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 at ngva.pao@mail.mil.

West Virginia:
More than 675 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 1,178 missions across the state.

The West Virginia National Guard has been working with the West Virginia Office of Technology to conduct cyber health assessments of the state lab’s systems. During this pandemic, there have been an unprecedented amount of cyber threats that have specifically targeted government agencies and laboratories.

Guardsmen will once again assist with COVID-19 testing lanes in Berkeley, Jefferson, Kanawha, Mineral and Morgan counties May 30-31. To date, the WVNG has tested 5,925 individuals, conducted COVID-19 tests for 96 lane support missions and 3,430 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 4,282 personnel across 745 businesses and 101 medical or long-term care facilities.

Additionally, the WVNG conducted inventory and sanitization of food bank sites, and assisted in the delivery of 4,200 meals to Lincoln, Mason, Wood, Webster and Tyler counties via refrigerated trailers May 26.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, is receiving and decontaminating PPE to prepare these items for delivery.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue to assist with sanitizing first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 454 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

WVNG medical personnel augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resource’s regional epidemiology teams have conducted 8,808 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 Wisconsin National Guard is providing a variety of support to the state’s COVID 19 response, including support to self-isolation and alternative care facilities.

Additionally, WING soldiers and airmen are conducting testing operations across the state, ramping up testing in long-term care facilities and Department of Corrections. The Guard conducts an average of 5,000 tests per day.

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 at ngwi.pao@mail.mil.