By Lt. Col. Keith Hickox
| May 22, 2020
Spc Dominique Dalessio (left) and Sgt. Shane Brandes (right) adjust their face shields and personal protective equipment while preparing for the mission to administer COVID-19 tests at the Lancashire Hall Nursing and Rehab Center in Lancaster, Pa., on May 19, 2020. Under guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and monitored by CDC officials, Pennsylvania National Guard members with Task Force Ghostrider launched a point prevalence sampling strike team in Lancaster. The mission is designed to identify possible risks of exposure to COVID-19 by testing the entire staff and residents for the virus. This is the first in the pilot program that will reach out across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. George Roach) (Photo by Master Sgt. George Roach)
The Pennsylvania National Guard deployed a Joint Force Medical Strike Team to assist at a rehab and nursing home in Delaware County starting April 18. The team consists of 12 Army National Guard medics from 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment and 6 nurses from the PA Air National Guard's, 193rd Det 1, from Ft. Indiantown Gap. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. George Roach) (Photo by Master Sgt. George Roach)
Task Force Saber officer in charge 1st Lt. Scott Dobson and non-commissioned officer in charge Sgt. Justin Rinear look at map of Philadelphia and the area of operation on April 22, 2020 in anticipation of upcoming tasks. Pennsylvania National Guard’s Task Force Saber members have been preparing to support a mortuary-affairs mission as part of the PNG’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. The mission entails assisting local medical examiners and is focused on the transportation of remains from the Philadelphia region and the surrounding five Pennsylvania counties to central collection locations. This is a joint mission that involves Army National Guard mortuary affairs teams and Air National Guard fatality search and recovery teams. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. George Roach) (Photo by Master Sgt. George Roach)
Capt. Richard Auletta briefs his staff before their shift change in the Joint Emergency Operation Command, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Horsham Air Guard Station, Pennsylvania. Members of the 56th SBCT and the 111th Attack Wing join forces to become Task Force South to support the Pa. National Guard Covid-19 response. Some recent missions include supporting Montgomery County Community Testing Site with medical staff and logistics support for the creation of the FEMA Medical Station which can house 250 non-acute patients located at the Glen Mills School. (Photo by Master Sgt. George Roach)
Spc. Gabriel Rushing of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 1/104th Cavalry gives a thumbs up before driving a LMTV loaded with special needs cots from the the Norristown State Hospital facility on Friday, April 3. Members of 1/104th Cavalry -- part of Pennsylvania Task Force South -- delivered 125 special needs cots to the Federal Emergency Management Agency field hospital located at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. The facility will be used as a potential surge hospital for patient care in the event that city hospitals are overwhelmed treating patients amid the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Master Sgt. George Roach)
As of May 22, approximately 1,200 Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) members are involved in supporting our response to COVID-19. Some are actively conducting missions while others are preparing in anticipation of additional tasks with our state and federal agency partners.
Under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proclamation of disaster emergency, signed March 6, the PNG can enter onto state active duty for missions designated by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The PNG receives its tasks from PEMA under any state of Emergency.
To date, the PNG has assisted in:
The PNG is currently continuing support to:
The PNG has set up its Joint Operations Center and all five Pennsylvania Task Forces, the same ones used for storms and other state emergencies. The geographic task forces, known as PTF Force North, PTF South and PTF West, provide localized command and control over the PANG units, resources and tasks within their assigned geographic areas. The two functional task forces are known as PTF Aviation and PTF Support.
Members of the PNG live and work in communities throughout Pennsylvania and are following the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations to protect their force, families and fellow Pennsylvanians.
The PNG has canceled or postponed most of its scheduled training to support mitigation efforts and help protect the force, our families and communities. Units that have been preparing to deploy overseas will continue that preparation with special measures taken to prevent transmission.
The Pennsylvania National Guard currently has 500 Soldiers and Airmen deployed around the world, with another 1000 preparing to mobilize.