By Staff Sgt. Josiah Pugh, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard held a series of ceremonies across the state to honor approximately 840 of its service members in recognition of their efforts in assisting the citizens of Louisiana during COVID-19 recovery operations, Nov. 30 – Dec. 3.
Ceremonies were held in Alexandria, Denham Springs, Hammond, and New Orleans for the members of Task Force COVID, some of whom have spent nearly two years on orders, assisting the citizens of Louisiana throughout the pandemic.
To date, service members packaged 40.7 million pounds of food, transported 61.8 million pieces of personal protective equipment and more than 94,000 vials of vaccine, administered more than 492,000 COVID tests, and provided more than 179,000 vaccine doses.
“When we first began this mission,” said Brig. Gen. Cindy H. Haygood, Task Force COVID commander, and assistant adjutant general – Army, “I would never have imagined that we would still be here supporting this mission 20 months later. But with four surges during this pandemic and, now, a new variant looming out there, we are still providing necessary support to the entire state.”
Soldiers and airmen received varying awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Louisiana Legion of Merit, the Louisiana Cross of Merit, and the Louisiana Emergency Service Ribbon.
“I am so proud to be your teammate and to get to serve with you each and every day,” said Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell, the adjutant general of the LANG. “To see what you do for our citizens makes me beam with pride … so, thank you.”
Task Force COVID continues to provide daily support across the state operating up to 35 testing sites, 25 vaccine sites, and 7 food banks.