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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-013 | March 31, 2020

It is with sadness that we announce a New Jersey Army National Guardsman passed away on Saturday. The individual tested positive for COVID-19 and had been hospitalized since March 21.

“I am deeply saddened by the COVID-19-related death of Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant who was a New Jersey National Guardsman. All of us in the National Guard are grateful for his service to our nation, as a Citizen and as a Soldier. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. All of us are likely to know people directly affected by this virus in the coming weeks. As our nation fights its greatest challenge in recent memory, we are all going to need to draw on our inner strength and resilience to win this war and comfort those in pain. We will prevail – and we each must bring our best selves to the task every day to overcome this as fast as possible for our great country.” Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau

"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to Coronavirus. This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19." Secretary of Defense Mark Esper

As of Tuesday morning, approximately 16,130 Air and Army National Guard professionals began their day actively supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.

Twenty-two states and two territories have approved use of Dual-Status Commanders, giving them the authority to command active and reserve component troops according to the needs of a state response. As a governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, so does the Guard response.

This morning, six states have approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another 32 requests moving through the approval process.

National Guard support focuses primarily on supporting a surge for enhanced medical capacity and logistics support.

Current National Guard COVID-19 response missions include, but are not limited to:
  • Full time 24 hour state Emergency Operations Center staffing to synchronize National Guard efforts with local and state mission partners to plan and execute an effective response;
  • Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase medical capacity; Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver critical supplies; Delivering food in hard-hit communities;
  • Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Providing critical Personal Protective Equipment training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Performing sample collection and delivery to medical personnel;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals; Providing transportation and assessment support to healthcare providers

If you were going to design an ideal military force to assist with the response like COVID-19, it would be the National Guard. We are 450,000 strong in every state, territory, nearly every zip code in the country. Less time and distance = more lives saved.

The National Guard Bureau (NGB) facilitates integration and synchronization of National Guard support to civil authorities and associated planning between states, the Department of Defense and federal partners. 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 Colombia have a very deep bench of nearly 450,000 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals. Guard units frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.

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 and CERFPs that could provide local first responders with additional resources to combat COVID-19.

For information about Dual Status Commander, access the story at this link: https://www.nationalguard.mil/News/Article/2128146/guard-dual-status-allows-flexibility-rapid-covid-19-response/

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:

Florida:
The Florida National Guard has 1,567 men and women activated in support of COVID-19. Support includes, but is not limited to providing operational support of Community Based Testing Sites; augmentation to airport screening measures; and statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets. The West Palm Beach County Community Based Testing Sites will begin public testing by appointments, today.

The Florida National Guard prepares for its transition to operations under 502(f) funding to execute FEMA mission assignments.

The Florida National Guard continues to support the Florida Department of Health and airport authorities in application of the Governor's order to conduct screenings at airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Palm Beach International, and Fort Myers. These missions will support the Governor's recent travel ban guidance in an attempt to significantly reduce the number of infected individuals entering the state from areas with a high amount of community spread. Department of Health continues to supply the required personal protective equipment enabling Guard men and women to conduct the support requirements.

The Florida National Guard has activated medical professionals, Army Combat Medic Specialists, and Air Force Medical Technicians in support of the Florida Department of Health's Community Based Testing Sites. Guard personnel are on site and have formed Task Force Medical.

Guard personnel have been activated to augment the State Logistics Readiness Center, the State's Logistics Branch, as well as facilitate statewide logistics needs of the Guard formations on mission. Logistics professionals continue to support the State's Emergency Operations Centers, as well as sustain the mobilized personnel. Guard personnel performing duties at the logistics readiness center have to be screened twice daily and receive temperature checks.

Florida Guard men and women will augment the State Emergency Operations Center and local emergency management offices across the state.

Please access the links below for photos and videos.

Please attribute to 1st. Lt. Tahisha Coleman, public affairs officer. She can also be reached at tahisha.j.coleman.mil@mail.mil.

New York:
As of today, the New York National Guard has 2,750 personnel on mission across the state. This includes members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, the New York Guard (State Defense Force), and the New York Naval Militia.

Six Joint Task Forces are operating on Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, Capital

Region, Syracuse and Buffalo to support state and local governments.

In New York City, New York National Guard personnel continue to support operations at the Jacob Javits Center FEMA field hospital.

A New York National Guard mayor's cell and other soldiers are supporting the federal civilian and Army medical personnel at the site as the unified command post for multi-agency response at the Javits Center.

New York has established a dual-status commander, Army Brig. Gen. Michel Natali, New York National Guard's Assistant Adjutant General, to command both National Guard and active duty forces operating in the state.

The New York National Guard is supporting seven drive-thru testing sites. Sites are located at SUNY Stony Brook, Jones Beach State Park, Staten Island, Glen Island State Park in Westchester County, the Anthony Wayne Service area in Rockland County, and Lehman College and Coop City- Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx. Army National Guard medics and Air National Guard medical technicians are assisting in sampling at the site and general purposes forces are providing administrative and logistics support.

New York National Guard personnel are continuing to support food packaging and distribution today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and in Westchester County. New York National Guard soldiers will be distributing food to residents under quarantine orders in Albany County.

New York soldiers and airmen are conducting logistics and administrative missions in support of the state response in all locations including New York City, Long Island and Westchester County. The New York National Guard is also supporting warehouse and bulk distribution at five sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and the Mohawk Valley.

Today the New York National Guard will work with the New York State Office of General Services and the New York State Department of Transportation to deliver ventilators to hospitals.

Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue today across the lower Hudson Valley.

New York National Guard troops are also prepared to clean public facilities as required.

The New York National Guard continues to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline with troops working in a call center in Rotterdam, N.Y. to offering updated information to the public. Other soldiers support a call center mission in Brooklyn in New York City. The military personnel are in addition to hundreds of New York State employees who are also fielding calls.

Soldiers are also on call to assist Department of Health officials at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany for packaging COVID 19 test kits.

New York National Guard images continue to go up on DVIDS and Flickr sites below:

Please attribute to Col. Richard Goldenberg, public affairs officer. He can also be reached at richard.l.goldenberg.mil@mail.mil or (518) 786-6150.