Pennsylvania National Guard ends COVID-19 response mission

  • Published
  • By Brad Rhen,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – After two years and hundreds of missions across the commonwealth, the Pennsylvania National Guard has ended its COVID-19 response.

Guard members were first activated March 17, 2020, to assist the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and transport home 38 residents quarantined following a coronavirus outbreak on a cruise ship.

COVID missions ended – at least for the time being – March 16, 2022, when the final service members supporting long-term care facilities came off orders.

“Over the past two years, Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have risen to the challenge and demonstrated unwavering dedication to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania adjutant general. “I am truly proud of their dedicated service and sacrifice during this unprecedented time.

Schindler expressed “heartfelt thanks to our service members, their families and employers for everything they’ve done that enabled us to successfully complete many challenging missions.”

More than 1,400 Pennsylvania National Guard members supported COVID missions across the commonwealth over the past two years. Some of them were on orders multiple times, some for months at a time.

Among the highlights of the Guard’s response:

• Army and Air National Guard medical planners and providers assessed over 197 sites across the commonwealth and planned over 242 operations.

• Guard members served 16,683 shifts at 161 long-term care facilities, providing medical care and support to residents and relief to staff.

• Guard teams advised 3,760 people at long-term care facilities how to use personal protective equipment and practice infection control.

• Several Guard members helped the Pennsylvania Department of Health with COVID mapping, contacting people who tested positive and guiding them on quarantine protocol while collecting data provided voluntarily.

• Guard members ferried food, personal protective equipment and cots for overflow hospitals.

• Mobile Guard teams provided Point Prevalence Testing for 32,499 residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

• The Guard helped local government agencies operating community-based testing sites where more than 22,000 COVID tests were administered.

• Pennsylvania Guardsmen supported more than 20 COVID-19 vaccination sites and administered about 82,400 vaccinations.

Planning and executing hundreds of missions from one end of Pennsylvania to the other was a tremendous undertaking, said Col. Frank Montgomery, the Pennsylvania National Guard’s director of military support.

“Everyone who took part in these missions, including the planners and those actually completing the missions, did an amazing job,” Montgomery said. “In many cases, they put their personal fears aside and stepped up to support their community when they were needed, whether it was something they had previously received training for or not.”