HomeNewsArticle Display

Reserve Citizen Airmen return home after battling COVID-19

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Medical Group celebrate after returning home from a deployment to New York City, May 28, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Medical Group celebrate after returning home from a deployment to New York City, May 28, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen were called to duty to help assist with patients in a New York area hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kristian Carter)

Capt. Sarah Arrellano, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron clinical nurse, one of 10 Reserve Citizen Airmen returning home from New York City, waits on a bus for transportation to lodging May 28, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Capt. Sarah Arrellano, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron clinical nurse, one of 10 Reserve Citizen Airmen returning home from New York City, waits on a bus for transportation to lodging May 28, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Arrellano and her group, who deployed to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic, must complete a 14-day quarantine prior to returning home. Arellano got to see firsthand, the effects of the disease, and its impact on people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Iram Carmona)

433rd Medical Group Reserve Citizen Airmen, along with other personnel deployed to help in New York hospitals, were given a celebratory send off, May 22, 2020 at the Queens Hospital Center, in New York City.

433rd Medical Group Reserve Citizen Airmen, along with other personnel deployed to help in New York hospitals, were given a celebratory send off, May 22, 2020 at the Queens Hospital Center, in New York City. Military personnel were all thanked for their help assisting hospital staff with COVID-19 patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Airlift Wing’s Medical Group, arrived here from New York City on a C-17 Globemaster III May 28 following a 54-day deployment.

The Alamo Wing activated 10 reservists, who deployed to the Queens Hospital Center in the Jamaica Hills area of the city, to help assist medical staff at the hospital with the overwhelming number of coronavirus or COVID-19 infected patients.

“Overall, we cared for approximately 50 patients at the hospital,” said Lt. Col. Kyle Suire, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, who was the officer in charge of the deployed members.

According to Suire, their duties were to help treat and alleviate the overwhelming amount of COVID-19 infected patients in New York.

“This virus is real; it’s serious, and people need to heed the warnings that are being put out by the CDC and other health organizations,” said Master Sgt. Julie Fuleky, 433rd Medical Squadron aerospace medical technician.

According to Fuleky, some of the duties the deployed Airmen were tasked with, were aiding nurses with preventing bedsores for bedridden patients; measuring vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiration; and assisting bedridden patients with bathroom needs.

As hard and challenging as this deployment may have been for the Alamo Wing Airmen, they also got to see the gratitude the people of New York had for them. According to Capt. Sarah Arellano, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron clinical nurse, said they were always greeted and applauded by the people and medical staff there.

First responders and the police were constantly saluting the team. Additionally, firefighters and police would also pass, blaring their sirens while waving at the military personnel helping around the hospitals.

“Being there made me feel what my purpose was and that I was being recognized,” said Arellano, about working with the staff and seeing the people there. “There’s no better feeling than having someone able to see your purpose, your skills, and your heart.”