Reserve Airmen mobilized to assist national pandemic effort
On March 27 last year, the US President signed an Executive Order authorizing mobilization of the Reserve Component in response to COVID-19 operations – a task unlike any in the last hundred years.
By: 1st Lieutenant Christi Judd, USA Air Force/CIOR Public Affairs.
Hundreds of Air Force Reserve members have volunteered to support the fight against the pandemic in the last 11 months. Reservists from across the nation were mobilized to places like New York City to assist with much-needed medical care.
While deployed, Captain Andrea Morgan, a nurse practitioner, and Major Katherine Trout, a registered nurse, from the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, were assigned to the Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. Major Jimmy Jones, a nurse practitioner, worked at the Javits Center in Manhattan, which was converted to an alternate care facility in preparation for any overflow of patients from NYC-area hospitals.
“We certainly didn’t know what to expect when we first arrived, as there were so many unknowns, but our military and medical training has taught us to roll with the punches, take in information and adapt, and that’s what we did,” Morgan said.
“Our military and medical training has taught us to roll with the punches, take in information and adapt, and that’s what we did”
The deployment was part of a larger Air Force Reserve mobilization package consisting of hundreds of doctors, nurses, and respiratory technicians who were sent to NYC to care for Americans at New York hospitals and the Javits Center.
“The Air Force Reserve stands ready to surge in support of COVID-19 response,” said Lieutenant General Richard Scobee, chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of the Air Force Reserve Command. “This is an unprecedented mission and COVID-19 is a destructive adversary – we must do all we can to take care of Americans.”
In addition, command and control elements, logistics personnel and other career fields may also be asked to volunteer and potentially mobilize as future taskings for specific skill sets, capabilities and requirements are received through the Force Generation Center.
“It was a life-changing experience to be able to see people in New York come together to care for the sick,” Morgan added. “Everyone there made sacrifices – the community, first responders, doctors and nurses all came together as a community.”
For now, medical personnel are at the top of the list to assist in operations to contain the spread of COVID-19 and care for Americans affected. Not since the 1918 Spanish Flu has the world seen this kind of global outbreak. The military worked alongside civilian doctors, nurses, and medical professionals then as they do now.
“I know our Reserve Citizen Airmen will answer our nation’s call during this challenging time with professionalism, patriotism and the required expertise to take care of Americans. It is my responsibility to care for our Citizen Airmen and families while we execute this ultimate mission,” General Scobee said.
The team of Reserve medics from Utah’s reserve wing cared for hundreds of COVID-19 patients while in New York and each said they were honored to provide care on the home front while serving in uniform.