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Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Defense

April 13, 2020
By David Vergun

DOD Transports Vital COVID-19 Medical Supplies to Points of Need

Transportation is a key part of the Defense Department's contributions to the whole-of-government effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Transportation Command has moved people and supplies around the world in support of the whole-of-government effort to combat COVID-19, Transcom's commander said.

Transcom has moved COVID-19 testing supplies to the United States from overseas and has delivered field hospitals in places such as New York and Washington state, Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons said, coordinating movements with U.S. Northern Command, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The command's mission is to conduct globally integrated mobility operations, lead the broader joint deployment and distribution enterprise, and provide enabling capabilities to project and sustain the joint force.

Lyons noted his command is also working with the State Department to contract with commercial airlines to repatriate U.S. citizens stranded abroad. To date, Transcom has contracted four flights and coordinated other missions resulting in almost 800 travelers being repatriated in support of State Department efforts.

The National Guard in every state and territory is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 29,000 guardsmen have been called up by their governors, according to today's Defense Department media fact sheet.

Besides supporting communities with testing sites and creating additional medical capability, the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are providing transportation for distribution of food and medical supplies. For example, airmen from the California Air National Guard are transporting 500 state-owned ventilators and medical supplies from California to states in need, including New York.

The Massachusetts National Guard is delivering personal protective equipment to first responders and hospitals throughout the state and providing staff augmentation and meal delivery to the Holyoke Soldiers Home.

The Iowa National Guard transported 280 pallets of medical supplies to 90 of the state's 100 counties.

The Arizona National Guard recently flew 300 sets of masks and gowns to a medical facility in the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta. The shipment also included some 2,000 gloves for health care workers. Additionally, several dozen guardsmen are working on building an alternate care facility in that area. Additionally, the Arizona Air National Guard delivered 40,000 yards of fabric from North Carolina to Arizona to be made into medical gowns.

Logistic teams from the West Virginia National Guard transported critical personal protective equipment to 55 counties throughout the state. They also delivered 5,500 meals using refrigerated trucks and packed an additional 2,000 meals for distribution.

The Louisiana National Guard, as of April 2, transported more than 360,000 N95 masks, 1.2 million gloves, 300 ventilators and about 50,000 protective suits to testing sites throughout the state.

The Nevada National Guard is organizing and transporting PPE for distribution to hospitals across the state. At the direction of medical professionals, they are also distributing 50 ventilators received from the state of California.

The Defense Logistics Agency manages the global supply chain for the U.S. military and federal agencies.

In West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, getting free school lunches to students who are now at home indefinitely, was a problem. DLA helped arrange the transfer of two former Massachusetts National Guard field ambulance trucks to the city's school district. The trucks were excess military property, but ran well. The trucks are helping in the meal distribution effort.

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