As part of the Nebraska National Guard’s activation to support the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, Soldiers and Airmen worked closely with the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services from April until June assisting with the distribution of personal protective equipment needs across the state.
Motor transport operators from the 1075th Transportation Company helped move personal protective equipment, including cloth masks, disinfectant wipes, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizer, N95 respirator masks, gloves, surgical gowns, thermometers and more across the state to numerous locations for the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We deliver PPE to all of the DHHS departments,” said Master Sgt. John Bates, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the personal protective equipment distribution mission. “And we also provide PPE for all of our testing teams and varies state organizations.”
Officials with the state partner agencies said they couldn’t be more appreciative of all the work the Soldiers and Airmen did while supporting the PPE distribution missions.
“The state was well-positioned because of the Soldiers and Airmen,” said Doug Carlson, Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Nebraska. “Their distributions to the local public health districts, hospitals, long-term care facilities, state agencies, and community agencies meant the difference between receiving PPE or going without.”
“There is no doubt in my mind the state could not have been successful without the men and women of the Nebraska National Guard,” Carlson added.
The joint mission was not only an excellent opportunity for the Soldiers and Airmen to do their jobs and helps their fellow citizens of the state, it was also a learning opportunity as most of the Guardsmen found themselves working in a warehouse environment for the first time.
"For these Soldiers, they are getting to be able to do what their 88M (motor transport operator) jobs are,” Bates said. “And they are able to pick up skills on the warehouse side of the mission.”
Bates said the teams worked really well together, getting request sin, processing them and getting them out.
“It ran pretty smoothly,” Bates added.
The distribution team worked countless hours – often leaving the warehouse in Lincoln well before sunrise to deliver to the panhandle that same day – to ensure all their fellow citizens in Nebraska got the equipment they needed on time, if not earlier than expected.
“The Nebraska National Guard was instrumental in delivering vital PPE to the people that needed it most,” Carlson said. “Their mission focused on packing PPE allocations and then delivering it to almost 40 communities across the state.”
According to Carlson, if it weren’t for the Nebraska National Guard's support, the communities of Nebraska wouldn’t be where they are today.
The distribution team delivered more than five million masks, 9,000 thermometers, one million surgical gowns, 21,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 63,000 goggles and 189,000 face shields.
“The distro team are professionals in every sense of the word,” Carlson said. “Their expertise, mixed with their desire to provide great customer service, should make Nebraska proud.”
“The state owes this team a debt of gratitude,” Carlson added. “When the state needed them most, they met the challenges.”