La. National Guard ends two-year pandemic response efforts
By Staff Sgt. David C. Kirtland, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard ended its pandemic response operations after 27 months of operations, June 30. The LANG, as directed by Governor John Bel Edwards, activated Soldiers and Airmen to respond to the COVID outbreak in March 2020.
The LANG’s response, which later became known as Task Force COVID, mobilized service members throughout the state to provide medical support, traffic control point and community-based testing site support, assistance at food banks, vaccine distribution and liaison officer teams to assist parish emergency operations centers.
“When the Louisiana National Guard became engaged in the pandemic, I don’t think any of us imagined we would remain in the fight for over 27 months,” said Brig. Gen. Cindy Haygood, the Task Force COVID commander. “However, during the entire span of this event, our Soldiers and Airmen were resilient in their pursuit to set conditions for mission success in support of the citizens of Louisiana. They were involved in every facet of the pandemic, often working seven days a week, through holidays and outside of their normal military training.”
Service members supported community-based testing sites at multiple locations throughout the state and conducted more than 636,000 tests.
For logistical support, service members delivered 63.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment during more than 20,000 delivery missions. The LANG also moved vials of vaccine around the state totaling more than 140,000 vials.
At food banks, service members packaged more than 2,700,000 boxes of food, totaling more than 46,000,000 pounds.
Once vaccines became available at the end of 2020, service members supported the inoculation effort by supporting community vaccination sites across the state, providing more than 234,000 doses.
“Soldiers and Airmen consistently adapted to changes in the mission and often raised their hands to take on additional training requirements to ensure mission success. It has been my and Command Sgt. Maj. Lemaire’s honor to lead this team and finally see it to the end,” said Haygood.