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Reserve Citizen Airmen double down on COVID-19 response

Airmen arrive at Barksdale Air Force Base

Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 307th Medical Squadron don masks as they arrive at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 22, 2020. The Airmen are part of a second wave of Air Force Reservists that deployed to New York to help in the city’s fight against COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Cody Burt)

Airman fills out paperwork

U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Cynitra Roberson, 307th Medical Squadron technician, fills out paperwork at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 22, 2020. Roberson was preparing to deploy to New York to aid local medical personnel in their battle with COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has sickened and killed thousands there this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Cody Burt)

Airman looks at a metal detector

U.S. Air Force Major Mark Strivers, 307th Medical Squadron nurse, prepares to go through a metal detector at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 22, 2020. Strivers, along with seven other 307th MDS members deployed to New York in only 72 hours to assist medical personnel there during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Cody Burt)

Members board a plane

Members of the 307th Medical Squadron walk to a plane at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 22, 2020. The Airmen left to help to local medical personnel in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Cody Burt)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

A second wave of Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 307th Medical Squadron here mobilized April 21 to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. to help with the fight against COVID-19 in New York City. 

The group of nurses and medical technicians followed another deployment from the unit earlier this month.  That deployment was also to New York City, one of the areas hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, with more than 134,000 confirmed cases and 10,000 deaths.

“These Reserve Citizen Airmen are trained and ready for just this type of contingency,” said Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, 307th Bomb Wing commander.  “I’m proud of their willingness to put their lives on hold to help those in need.”

The group was ready in less than 72 hours from the time of being called up.  

Staff Sgt. Trevor Talbert, 307th MDS aerospace medical technician, was one of the deploying Airmen. A veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he said the deployment to fight COVID-19 was different from the previous ones.

“You can prepare for combat and normally see an enemy coming; now we are combatting a virus that we can’t see,” he said. “I’m still excited, because we’ve got a great group of people going and we are going to do good work." 

The deployment came as a result of the President’s March 27 executive order authorizing the Air Force Reserve to activate members as needed. Mission details are still in coordination but the Air Force Reservists can provide critical care at any location worldwide.

The Air Force Reserve Command employed a screening process when selecting deployable personnel to ensure it did not negatively impact their local community  efforts to fight COVID-19.  Reserve Citizen Airmen ensconced in local community health efforts were not pulled for military duty.

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.