104th Medical Group administers COVID-19 tests in community
By Master Sgt. Lindsey Watson-Kirwin, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 08, 2020
WESTFIELD, Mass. – In the Air National Guard, Airmen wear federal and state hats. When called upon by their state, they can serve the very communities where they live. Medical professionals from the 104th Medical Group, Massachusetts National Guard, are getting to do just that.
A group of aerospace medical technicians and a medical administrator from the 104th MDG spent a week administering COVID-19 tests throughout Massachusetts, sometimes at four locations a day.
To prepare, they spent a week training at Hanscom Air Force Base, learning how to wear the proper personal protective equipment and properly administer the test. They also trained with the 272nd Chemical Company at Camp Curtis Guild.
“It was nice to see that everyone was an expert in their field,” said Senior Airman Austin von Richthofen, who enlisted with the 104th MDG in 2014 as an aerospace medical technician and is working toward his private pilot’s license. “Everyone did a great job adapting and working together.”
Von Richthofen graduated from Worcester State University in December with a bachelor’s of science in public health.
“My degree is in public health and this fits in perfectly,” said von Richthofen. “I have learned a lot that I can use later.”
The team will continue to serve the community whether it is traveling to administer COVID-19 tests or back-filling staff at facilities in need of medical staff.
“The most rewarding part is to see how we influence people around the state and even within our hometowns,” said von Richthofen.