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125th Fighter Wing Airmen assist with COVID-19 vaccinations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Chelsea Smith
  • 125th Fighter Wing

JACKSONVILLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Fla. – Sixty Airmen from the 125th Fighter Wing activated Feb. 1 to support increased COVID-19 testing and vaccination administration at a Jacksonville mall.

The Airmen will help vaccinate eligible residents in support of the Florida Department of Health’s statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we’ve seen since last year, our Airmen are poised and ready to react at a moment’s notice,” said Col. Matthew French, 125th Fighter Wing commander. “We are proud to continue the fight against this virus as the state looks to use all its available resources to distribute vaccines and expand testing capacity.”

Thirty-four Airmen are activated to support ongoing COVID-19 testing at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. About half of the 60 Guard members starting the Regency Mall mission worked other COVID-19 missions in 2020.

“I was previously activated for three months at the Orange County site providing traffic control support,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jacob Hancock, 125th FW public affairs specialist. “The opportunity to serve our citizens is the very reason that I chose to enlist in the Florida National Guard. I am happy that I have another chance to serve our community by being on the frontlines, fighting against this virus. We are here to help and, as Citizen-Airmen, we want to ensure that our communities stay healthy and guarded against this virus any way that we’re able to.”

Since March, more than 2,300 Florida National Guard members have supported the state’s COVID-19 response at community-based testing sites, assisted living facilities, airports and food banks.

The 125th Fighter Wing executes a diverse mission set with more than 1,600 Citizen-Airmen assigned to 25 units in seven locations.