Tango carries a few definitions. The tango is a dance where partners synchronize movements, or if you are in the military, it might refer to the letter “T” or even a target. But if you are a Soldier supporting the Florida National Guard’s response to COVID-19 in South Florida, it refers to a Soldier: Sgt. Arielle Tango
Tango, a combat medic with the 256th Medical Company Area Support, plays a vital role in the FLNG’s support of South Florida’s community-based testing sites by establishing processes and procedures, leading training and ensuring data collection parallels the specimen collection for the coronavirus.
“Tango is an [emergency room] nurse on the civilian side, and she has an exceptional capacity to bring her civilian education and skills, and is able marry those up to [combat medic] skills,” said Maj. Jacqueline Zuluaga, the company commander of the 256th MCAS. “Her abilities to conceptualize the need for data collection for quality assurance and quality control is tremendous.”
As Soldiers, medical staff and government agency personnel strategize to timely respond to the needs of American citizens, the processes implemented during the initial response will set the standard and be the source of information for any future epidemiology studies.
“Our role here is to provide testing to the public after they meet screening criteria. It is a very dynamic process,” said Tango, who is also enrolled at Georgetown University’s nurse practitioner program. “The need for data tracking became quickly evident.”
Tango created the process to obtain this data. The data being obtained includes gender, age, zip code, and who is swabbing the patient. This information can be used to ensure quality assurance.
“If there are any tests in question, or if a medic was on the line swabbing and they have multiple positive results, and should that [combat medic] be exposed to COVID-19, they would have a reference point for exposure,” said Zuluaga. “[Tango] is also able to provide this data collection to [headquarters], the state, and the Department of Health.”
In addition to the data collection portion, Tango was also essential in providing training on personal protective equipment and the process for the medics at the drive-thru CBTS.
“She ensures that we have quality assurance and quality control along with a competency checklist, which ensures the medics [are] performing step-by-step procedures in accordance to the guidelines,” said Zuluaga. “She has been at every [CBTS] ensuring that medics are competent on writing the requisitions and proper handling of the specimen – putting it into the bag, labeling it and putting it away.”
Although the Novel Coronavirus and the pandemic surrounding it are new, Tango’s leadership and motivation is not.
“She is a valuable asset to the unit. She has proven that time and time again,” said First Sgt. Michael Wong, with the 256th MCAS. “She brings leadership skills, which is amazing. She is not afraid to take charge, take ownership, or bring to order any task she is given.”
As with all non-commissioned officers, Tango is also tasked with mentoring and guiding junior Soldiers.
“I look up to her and hope to be like her when I climb the ranks,” said Spc. Taylor Bennett, with the 254th Transportation Battalion. “She is very smart and confident in herself. She knows what she is doing and is able to take initiative to get things done.”
Tango also enhances medical response operations around the world as part of the FLNG’s State Partnership Program, where she is able to share medical readiness information with other countries.
“Being able to make a difference and to protect the general public and our Soldiers is everything to me,” said Tango.