ATLANTA – Georgia Air National Guard Airmen gave a shot in the arm to the active component, administering the COVID-19 vaccine to U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, April 10.
The Dogface Soldiers from Fort Stewart have been in Atlanta since March assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency operate a COVID-19 vaccination site at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We have Soldiers mixing the vaccine, we have Soldiers vaccinating civilians, we have Soldiers waiting in the post area waiting 15 minutes to ensure their safety and to watch for adverse reactions,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Angela Kammen, the medical officer for 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “We also have Soldiers that are not medics helping out with quality control, making sure people know where to go and doing the best they can to ensure a smooth process for everyone.”
Georgians have become accustomed to seeing service members clad in camouflage fatigues out in public since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. The Georgia National Guard has employed Soldiers and Airmen across the state as disinfectant teams, hospital support teams, food bank workers and testing site operators.
Georgia National Guard medics have been giving vaccines to fellow Soldiers and Airmen since January. Georgia Guardsmen have also supported mass vaccination sites under the supervision of GEMA and the Georgia Department of Public Health.
“We have developed a lot of best practices and lessons learned that we’ve shared not only with the active duty but also the civilian sector, too,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Frances Burress, an aerospace medicine physician assistant with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Medical Group, 116th Air Control Wing. “I was part of a team that went out to the civilian hospitals, and a lot of the stuff we learned there we brought back to the Guard and shared with the active-duty side of the house.”
The Georgia National Guard and 3rd Infantry Division are no strangers when it comes to cooperation and supporting one another.
Fort Stewart is the home of the 3rd Infantry Division and hosts the Georgia Army National Guard’s Land Dominance Center. The LDC property on Fort Stewart is designated to the Georgia National Guard for housing and training.
The Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team wears the blue and white striped 3rd Infantry Division patch as part of the Total Force Partnership Program. This program facilitates more cooperative training between the active-duty and National Guard components by forming official partnerships.
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers staff the 3rd Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment. The 3ID MCPOD is a Georgia Army National Guard unit whose mission is to provide personnel and support to the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters. While the MCPOD is administratively assigned to the Georgia Army National Guard’s 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 3rd Infantry Division has operational control over the unit during deployments.
Georgia Guardsmen vaccinating active-duty Soldiers is just one more addition to an established and proven relationship.
“They [3rd Infantry Division Soldiers] have welcomed us as brothers in arms; we’re sister services,” said Burress. “It seems like you would almost think we were family.”