Air Force Reserve medics mobilized a second time for COVID response

  • Published
  • By Jon Quinlan
  • HQ Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs

As COVID-19 continues to impact the U.S. healthcare system in pockets of the country, the Air Force Reserve is once again mobilizing approximately 40 ground medical personnel to assist civilian hospitals in New York and California at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For the past two years, active, Guard and Reserve medical forces have assisted FEMA by providing military medical personnel activations to U.S. Army North, under U.S. Northern Command's oversight.

"Our Air Force Reservists are once again answering our nation's call and stepping up to support Americans here at home," said Col. Craig Keyes, AFRC command surgeon. "Our Air Force Reserve medical teams are providing direct relief for hospital staffs in New York and California that are overburdened and in need of federal or military assistance. We are proud to stand by our civilian, federal and community medical providers to save lives, alleviate suffering and defeat this pandemic."

Air Force Reserve Command medics are often called upon for support in times of emergency, contingency and defense of civil authorities. This is the second group mobilization of Air Force Reserve medical personnel for COVID-19 response. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, AFRC mobilized more than 120 medical personnel across the nation with less than 48 hours of notification.

This team of Air Force Reservists are all volunteers, and they are ready to assist in the time and place of need. The Reservists are a mix of doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Maj. (Dr.) Sanjiv M. Baxi is one of three activated from the 349th Medical Squadron, from Travis Air Force Base, California. This is his second deployment to New York for COVID response.

"I am just honored to support the effort with the COVID-19 operation in the U.S. in a hospital setting." Baxi said, "We are particularly trained and bring unique skill sets to help Americans on American soil, and it's just a tremendous thing."

Air Force Reserve medical personnel from Travis, the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado,  the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick AFB, Florida, the 932nd Airlift Wing, Scott AFB, Illinois, the 943rd Rescue Group, Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona, and the 944th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Arizona, made up two of the medical teams requested by FEMA.

The medical teams will be organized and tasked to various hospitals under ARNORTH's operational guidance. ARNORTH is the joint force land component command of USNORTHCOM.