Joint leaders bring their teams together to take on COVID-19 in California

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Jeffrey Schultze
  • 195th Wing Public Affairs

Since being called into action last month, Air National Guard Col. Douglas Hire, 195th Wing commander and Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. David Eckert, 115th Regional Support Group have brought their units together in the form of Joint Task Force 115, to combat COVID-19 in California by providing humanitarian support across the state.

The historic response required to combat the virus has seen these units leverage their varied backgrounds and skill sets to directly support food bank operations as well as medical support logistics.

“The task force is fulfilling the Governors’ priorities,” said Hire. “We are making sure the food supplies flow for at risk populations as well as sending out medical support to help combat the COVID virus, making sure that the citizens of California are protected.”

Helping fellow Californians is the driving force behind the JTF 115 mission.

“We are working together in one singular effort throughout the state and our members are citizen soldiers and citizen airmen that are coming together to work within their communities to make a difference, that is what we do in the National Guard,” said Hire.

Supporting food banks across the state is a key priority of the task force and to date has delivered 7.6 million meals.

“By bringing an array of talents to the food banks; by augmenting the staff of volunteers we’re making sure the food banks don’t run out of food and are ready to feed the people,” said Eckert.

While the food bank operations are a major focus of the task force, the medical response efforts meet another need.

“We’ve been working with the CAL EMSA (Emergency Medical Services Authority) warehouse distributing medical equipment as well as refurbishing ventilators and sending out strike teams to augment medical staffs around the state,” said Eckert.

Moving forward, the JTF will continue to support the Governors objectives and fellow citizens.
“There is something special about being able to come into your community and help Californians in a time of need,” said Hire.