Lexington, S.C. pharmacist mobilized to N.J. for COVID-19 response

Capt. Jonathan R. McFall at home with wife Sara and children, Nolan and Callum. The Lexington, South Carolina pharmacist is currently serving in an Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force that is assisting a New Jersey community hospital with the increase of patients due to the COVID-19 virus. Capt. McFall is one of more than 1,200 Army Reserve medical professionals that have been mobilized across the country to support civilian medical requirements. (Courtesy Photo)

Within the span of a few weeks Army Reserve Capt. Jonathan R. McFall transitioned from civilian employment as a pharmacist to active duty and is now fully engaged in the fight against COVID-19 in a community hospital in New Jersey.

McFall is one of more than 1,200 Army Reserve medical professionals that have been mobilized in Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces as part of the Department of Defense response to COVID-19, which is being led by U.S. Northern Command.

U.S. Army North, as U.S Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, continues the rapid integration of medical capabilities in several locations around the country, while remaining flexible to rapidly respond to emerging needs as part of the Department of Defense’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint Force Land Component Command has employed UAMTFs in six U.S. cities, including Newark, New Jersey where McFall is now.

“I think it’s underestimated: The role that the Army Reserve plays into supporting this country. A lot of our active duty mission slots come from the Army Reserve medical providers. This (mobilization) truly shows the backbone and amount of manpower that the Reserve can offer.” stated McCall, who serves as a pharmacist in the Reserve as well.

Specifically created to respond in this time of crisis, UAMTFs augment the civilian medical community by delivering a wide range of critical medical capabilities, including medical providers, nurses, respiratory therapists and an infectious disease specialist. Each 85-Soldier team is capable of supporting 250 low-acuity patients.

The UAMTF McFall serves with is augmenting the regular staff of the University Hospital in Newark to assist in managing the increase in patients due to the new virus. McFall’s current responsibilities include preparing crash carts, IVs, and checking medications as part of his pharmacist duties.

McFall, who earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his doctorate of pharmacy from the University of South Carolina shared that he joined the Army Reserve based on the desire for “A sense of purpose. I had the urge to fulfill a long-term desire of service to the country.” He also serves as a Department of Army Civilian pharmacist at Fort Jackson, South Carolina when not in uniform.

A member of the Army Reserve Medical Command, South East Medical Area Readiness Group, 7409th Troop Medical Clinic based in Charlotte, North Carolina, this is McFall’s first mobilization since joining the Army.

When asked about his family, McFall a husband and father of two shared, “They are nervous to see me gone, but proud to (see me) serve a higher purpose.”

McFall’s message to his fellow military colleagues serving across the nation. “Keep up the good fight, we will come out better and stronger on the other end of this.”