Security Forces Airmen with the 104th Fighter Wing and Military Police Soldiers from the 211th Military Police Battalion, 747th Military Police Company are working jointly as a Quick Reaction Force in response to COVID-19. Their security teams are working closely with Massachusetts Emergency Management interagency partners to provide assistance.
The Airmen and Soldiers report for duty to the 24/7 mission to serve their community and protect supplies, patients, and medical staff at a COVID-19 testing and medical facility for the homeless in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“We are appreciative of the community supporting each other,” said Spc. Amber Findlay, 747th MPC. “They bring a lot of respect when they see the military uniform,” she said.
The joint Massachusetts National Guard team is working with the medical staff and community to provide COVID-19 testing and care. Upon arriving for duty, part of their reporting procedure includes connecting with medical staff to find out the current patient count and status. The Airmen and Soldiers work together to provide seamless integration throughout each shift.
“We work as a team,” said Findlay.
Pfc. Deanna Crosier of the 747th MPC agreed, “We work as one with the Air National Guard.” Crosier, a citizen Soldier, is also a security guard at General Dynamics and is a student at Lincoln Tech, where she studies auto body.
The Airmen and Soldiers are there to provide on-site security as patrols, and gate security in the area.
“The activation in support of the pandemic is something different,” said Spc. Garry Welch, 747th MPC Soldier and electrician for a commercial construction company in Springfield. “We train for all types of emergencies and security missions, but fighting a virus is something we do not train for very often and is a new aspect.”
“We provide assistance in any environment someone needs help with,” said Crosier.
Just like many members of the community, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected these Guardsmen personally and professionally. Their lives are a little different than before.
“I have two kids, and my husband is taking care of the kids and their schoolwork,” said Findlay.
Not only are the personnel resources being shared for this joint mission, but the physical resources are also being shared amongst the units.
Resources, such as gators and vehicles, are being provided by both units and helps to support the guard members on duty, said Staff Sgt. William Ghio, 104FW SFS Airman. “Sharing the methods and resources is a plus,” he said.
As the mission continues, the units are integrating their skills and backgrounds while on duty together.
“We are sharing different methods or ideas while on post together, both Air and Army Guard, which is always good to share the different leadership experiences,” said 2nd Lt. Ian Deluca, 747th MPC.