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National Guard continues to protect its communities

20-064 | July 1, 2020

More than 37,100 National Guard members are supporting domestic operations across the United States at the direction of their governors today. This includes support to COVID-19, civil disturbance, and natural disaster missions such as floods and wildfires.

More than 31,600 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue COVID-19 response efforts in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

Presently, there are more than 73,350 Guard men and women engaged in homeland and overseas missions.

The National Guard is often at its most visible in American communities in the aftermath of natural disasters. Last fiscal year, National Guard forces responded to 63 natural disasters, including seven hurricanes or tropical storms, 19 floods, 20 winter storms, and 12 fires. Our partnerships with state, local, and federal agencies helps us respond quickly and effectively.

“We bring a broad range of skills and processes that we can tailor to just about any type of disaster or emergency response,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven Nordhaus, the National Guard Bureau’s director of operations. “We will be ready with our inter-agency partners to save lives, prevent suffering and mitigate destruction to property in the wake of natural disasters.”

About 40 Idaho National Guard soldiers attended the Idaho National Guard’s first wildland firefighting training course at Gowen Field June 15-19 and 22-26.

Although Gowen Field and the Orchard Combat Training Center fire departments have qualified wildland firefighters, this is the first time the five-day courses have been offered to non- firefighter members of the National Guard, enabling them to earn an Incident Qualification Card, commonly known as a Red Card certification.

As soldiers become certified by the Idaho Department of Lands, they can assist firefighting efforts if the governor declares a state emergency.

“The Idaho National Guard is proud to offer our soldiers the opportunity to participate in this entry-level firefighter course,” said Army Brig. Gen. Russ Johnson, director of Idaho’s joint staff. “It enables us to enhance our capability to respond to local, state and federal calls with trained and qualified wildland firefighters.”

In preparation to support domestic emergencies, the National Guard Bureau provides funding, when available, for wildfire prevention and protection activities to states most impacted by fires.


Ohio National Guard serves as lifeline to assisted living facility

Two months after COVID-19 began spreading throughout Ohio, the overwhelmed directors of an assisted living facility in Logan reached out to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency for help. Within six hours, the Ohio National Guard dispatched a 20-person team with medical and ancillary staff capabilities.

OHNG medics and nurses administered medications, assessed conditions, took vital signs and transferred residents throughout the facility. The ancillary staff supported cleaning, laundry services, delivering meals and assisting trained medical personnel with resident care. They also cordoned off wings of the facility, based on which residents tested positive for COVID-19, and ensured there was personal protective equipment for each section.

“They’ve helped by serving my meals, with personal care, and just being there for me,” said resident Kathy Russell. “They stepped in and stepped up greatly to take care of us. They’ve done a great job and I am thankful for them.”

Maj. Richard Binks, with the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment, had worked with COVID-19 patients in his civilian job as an intensive care unit nurse and during an April Guard mission caring for inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton.

“I think [my previous experiences] prepared me for this,” he said. “I have a better understanding of the proper PPE to use, what precautions and prevention methods to take, the overall understanding of how COVID-19 can present, knowledge of the interventions being done for patients with COVID-19, and knowledge of the treatment plans for COVID-19-positive individuals.”


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.