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National Guard response to COVID-19 and civil unrest

20-052 | June 1, 2020

As of Monday morning, a historic 66,700 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for domestic operations across the United States in support of their governors. This surpassed numbers of Guardsmen activated during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response, when more than 51,000 were activated.

Approximately 45,000 National Guard members are supporting COVID-19 response efforts in all 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. Testing and screening is the priority effort in most states as they reopen.

Governors in 23 states and the District of Columbia have activated the National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations. Currently, more than 17,000 National Guard members are supporting civil unrest response. The situation remains fluid and as governors access their needs, the numbers may change rapidly.

“We are here to protect life and property, and preserve peace, order, and public safety,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.


In all cases, state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security. National Guard personnel assigned to these missions are trained, equipped and prepared to help restore order. When requested, the Guard will support law enforcement, protect lives and property in the communities of which these soldiers and airmen live and work, and ensure their neighbors’ right to safely and peacefully protest.

National Guard Civil Support missions are generally conducted to assist in:

  • Supporting civil authorities whose capabilities or capability is insufficient to meet current requirements.
  • Protecting the life, property and safety of U.S. citizens.
  • Protecting critical U.S. infrastructure.
  • Providing humanitarian assistance during disaster response and domestic emergencies.
  • Providing support to designated law enforcement activities and operations.
  • Providing support to designated events, and other activities.

Additional missions currently being performed by National Guard men and women include wildfire and flood response, as well as cyber support. June 1 is also the official start of the hurricane season, a date not lost on the National Guard. Each year, a series of exercises, training and preparations take place in the states at risk for hurricanes.

The Puerto Rico National Guard began a series of tabletop exercises May 27, using lessons learned from recent disasters to better prepare for future emergencies across the island.

“It is important to plan the reaction to the emergency, even if changes need to be applied on the march,” said Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, adjutant general of Puerto Rico. “The quality of the initial response in an emergency will be consistent with the degree of preparedness. This process never ends.”


COVID-19 response efforts continue in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. The National Guard remains committed to serving and helping our communities fight COVID-19 and will remain in that fight as long as necessary. Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help and we will not let them down.

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

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.

Members of the Alabama National Guard are providing support to the Alabama Department of Public Health. National Guard medical and logistics planners are supporting state efforts to distribute equipment, acquire and develop more PPE testing kits, as well as testing and inspecting medical ventilators.

Additionally the Guard will host a Romanian military delegation in Birmingham to discuss counter COVID-19 operations. The visit is part of the State Partnership Program between Alabama and Romania.

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 Delaware National Guard are supporting community-based testing sites at the University of Delaware Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus, as well as at Lake Forest Court Elementary.

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.

Members of the Iowa National Guard are screening hundreds of residents in Crawford County for COVID-19 by nasal swab or antibody testing. A team of airmen from the 132d Medical Group, 132nd Force Support Squadron and 132nd Security Forces Squadron have established, and are operating, a Joint Mobile Screening Center in Denison.

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 Louisiana National Guard is assisting with packing and transporting more than 10,000 gallons of donated hand sanitizer.

For more information on Louisiana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Elizabeth Collins at elizabeth.n.collins.mil@mail.mil, (318) 290-5027, or the Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.la.laarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

The Mississippi National Guard is providing community COVID-19 testing for residents in Jackson.

For more information on Missouri National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Deidre D. Smith at deidre.d.smith8.mil@mail.mil, (601) 313-6148, or the Mississippi National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.ms.msarng.list.public-affairs@mail.mil.

New Hampshire:
The New Hampshire National Guard is supporting increased hospital surge capacity around the state, with more than 1,500 beds at 14 alternate care facilities and 23 active quarantine sites.

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:
The New Mexico National Guard is providing PPE distribution statewide, and transporting test specimens from test sites to labs. Additionally, Guardsmen are assisting the Pueblo and Navajo nations with water and food distribution, test site support and sterilization of long-term care facilities.

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.

The Oklahoma National Guard has delivered more than 300,000 pounds of food and 65,000 meals to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Members of the Oklahoma Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing packed crisis relief boxes, worked at mobile pantry sites and transported food to local communities.

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.

Members of the Oregon National Guard are assisting the Oregon State University Extension program by delivering approximately 135,000 masks at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

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.

Puerto Rico:
Members of the Puerto Rico National Guard are conducting screening operations at ports of entry and maritime port facilities. Guardsmen are testing first responders at 10 sites, and employing a mobile testing team at Canovanas. Additionally the Guard is providing testing for the elderly at Guaynabo, Manatí, San Juan and Juana Diaz.

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.

Members of the Tennessee National Guard are providing testing support at Volunteer Challenge Academy and long-term care facility in Sumner County, as well as assisting with state employee COVID-19 testing.

For more information on Tennessee National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Christopher Messina at christopher.g.messina.mil@mail.mil, or the Tennessee National Guard Public Affairs Office at tnpao@live.com, or (615) 313-0633.

Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen are manning call centers with 16 interpreters who are available to translate in seven different languages. Additionally, Guardsmen are conducting testing in Monroe and downtown La Crosse. To date they have collected more than 80,000 specimens at multiple mobile testing sites.

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.