Download the AMN app for your mobile device today - FREE!

Historic COVID-19 mission for California State Guard

California State Guard Col. (CA) Susan I. Pangelinan, deputy surgeon general, and Lt. Col. (CA) Bonnie Davis-Grunseth, Joint Medical Command commander, review a mission tracker March 25 at the California Military Department headquarters in Sacramento. The State Guard quickly assembled a 9-member team in support of COVID-19 operations that the California National Guard responded to. The medical element will be engaged in the San Francisco Bay Area which set stringent public requirements at the coronavirus initial outbreak. (Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Eddie Siguenza)

This report originally published at (DVIDS) and is reprinted in accordance with DVIDS guidelines and copyright guidance.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the California National Guard continues its active humanitarian engagements for COVID-19, it’s also setting another precedence with its extended arm: the California State Guard.

Nearly a dozen State Guardsmen are in the coronavirus fight in San Mateo County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area that sparked some of the stringiest public restrictions when COVID-19 initially reacted. There are no Guardsmen amongst this group. They’re strictly state reservists (with medical backgrounds) who want to make a difference.

“This is something different, something historic,” said Cal State Guard’s Col. (CA) Susan Pangelinan, deputy state surgeon. “This is the first time maybe since the Vietnam War the state guard’s getting called up for something like this. In less than 24 hours they got together and are out on mission.”

“It’s something historic because of the short notice,” replied Lt. Col. (CA) Bonnie Davis-Grunseth, commander, State Guard Joint Medical Command. “”We had to get members who were immediately ready to get here.”

Known prior as California State Military Reserve, the State Guard normally augments California’s Army and Air Guard units and serves as a California defense force. United States Code (32 USC 109c) and the California Military and Veteran’s Code (CM&VC 550) classify its use for Army and Air missions, and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s activation of Cal Guard enables the State Guard for the COVID-19 humanitarian assistance.


The 9-member medical team will provide emergency prehospital response. They’ll be on the front line in determining medical cases, even providing patient care. Their hours will include working through the night.

“Low acuity care,” Pangelinan added. “If needed, we’ll be able to provide stabilization and preparation for transport to higher level care.”

The team consists a medical provider, nurse, behavioral health officer, emergency medical technicians and a staff person.

“For California, this is very important,” said Davis-Grunseth. “We’ll be at this in full force. We’re tasked to do what needs to be done. We wear many hats as a service member.”

Cal Guard has approximately 500 Soldiers and Airmen actively providing humanitarian assistance at food banks and medical locations, with that number expected to grow. More than 1,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Bay Area. (DVIDS) reports are created independently of American Military News and are distributed by American Military News in accordance with DVIDS guidelines and copyright guidance. Use of DVIDS reports does not imply DVIDS endorsement of American Military News. American Military News is a privately owned media company and has no affiliation with the U.S. Department of Defense.