932nd Airlift Wing Reservists at Scott AFB join COVID-19 front lines!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Stan Paregien
  • 932nd Airlift Wing

Approximately 20 Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 932nd Airlift Wing here
mobilized April 22 and flew out aboard the unit’s C-40C aircraft to support COVID-19 efforts with most
Reservists planning to assist medical staff in the New York region.

As the Airmen of various ranks and medical specialties gathered together, the seriousness of the
virus-fighting mission ahead was made evident by various briefers, getting them mentally ready to join
other military members, already on the ground in the New York area dealing with the COVID-19
outbreak. Temperatures of each member were taken to ensure a healthy status before leaving.
Records were reviewed and updated. All the 932nd AW reservists mobilized were medically screened
according to Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control guidance.

They gathered early before sunrise as a group to board the Air Force bus that would take them to the passenger terminal and then out on the flight line where 932nd Maintenance Group maintainers had loaded and prepped the plane for takeoff, while C-40C pilots and flight attendants welcomed them aboard.

“I want to thank everyone in the wing for helping our folks get ready to go on this mobilization.
By taking care of our Airmen, this allows them to go and take care of fellow Americans,” said Col. Chris
Spinelli, the commander of the 932nd Medical Group. The primary mission for these Illinois-based Air
Force Reservists is to provide lifesaving patient care in response to the COVID-19 crisis in New York.

After taking off from Scott Air Force Base, the C-40C plane flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in
Louisiana to pick up eight more reserve medical Airmen from the 307th Bomb Wing. This mobilization is
part of a larger package of more than 150 across the Air Force Reserve as more medical Airmen head to
support the COVID-19 response and to take care of Americans. This latest deployment brings the total of
Air Force Reservists mobilized in support of COVID-19 relief efforts to more than 770 around the nation.

There are currently more than 54,300 DoD personnel supporting COVID relief efforts with
almost 15,000 deployed in support of response operations. Nearly 5,000 Navy, Air Force, and Army
personnel are Reservists and 35,750 National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19
response around the nation. Master Sgt. Blair Bookland, 932nd Medical Squadron, is ready for the
challenge. The Airman voiced his positive reaction to being mobilized.
“We’re heading to New York to help with the Coronavirus. We’ve got medical technicians,
we’ve got emergency room nurses, and we’ve got Intensive Care Unit nurses, so we’re going to go there
and do everything we can to help out. ,” said Bookland.

As COVID-19 response requirements for more medical personnel, aeromedical evacuation
capabilities, logistics experts and other specialties grow, the Air Force Reserve was granted the authority
to activate the inactive Reserve, as needed, by the President’s March 27 Executive Order. The 932nd Medical Group commander greeted and said farewell to each of his Airman as they boarded the C-40C plane at Scott.

“I think what makes me most proud about our deployers is their selfless commitment to helping
others. I recognize all of the hours they have spent in training. The hours spent to become the civilian
medical professionals that they are, as well as the years of military training plus the additional
deployments they have gone through,” said Spinelli. “All that leads them to this point where they are
willing to give more of themselves to go help their fellow Americans who currently are at their most
vulnerable and in need of someone capable and willing to take care of them. That’s our 932nd Medical
Squadron and 932nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medics. We couldn’t do this mission without the
professionals behind the scenes at the Aerospace Medicine Squadron that support our deployers’ needs
here at home. They are all definitely heroes,” added Spinelli.

These 20 reserve Airmen from Scott Air Force Base follow two additional 932nd Airlift Wing
members who left in the previous weeks. Together they represent the Medical Squadron and
Aeromedical Staging Squadron. “We’re going to be able to support. Whether we are just trying to give
them a break, or they get overwhelmed, we are there to help people. All our 4Ns (medical technicians)
are qualified to be licensed practical nurses in most states and we can do things under doctor’s and
nurse’s supervision and things on our own depending on the protocols. We are well prepared, “said

Airmen willing to volunteer for mobilization should contact their squadron commander, unit
deployment manager, Readiness Integration Office Detachment, Functional Area Manager and if
medical, email: HQAFRC.SG.AFRCPHEOs@us.af.mil, to self-identify their availability. In the body of the e-
mail please provide your name, rank, AFSC, assigned/attached unit, civilian email, address, phone
number and if you are currently involved in COVID-19 response in your civilian job.