HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — With just one day’s notice, several medics from the 419th Fighter Wing deployed today for the New York City area to help with the COVID-19 response there.
The deployment is part of a larger mobilization package of more than 120 doctors, nurses, and respiratory technicians that Air Force Reserve units across the nation have provided over the past 48 hours in support of COVID-19 response to take care of Americans.
New York City has so far been hardest hit by COVID-19 and is currently considered the epicenter for the coronavirus in the United States.
Maj. Jimmy Jones, chief nurse in the 419th Medical Squadron, said he’s ready to provide medical aid wherever needed and honored to provide care here on the home front while serving in uniform.
“I’m excited to help, but there’s always a little bit of trepidation when you go into the unknown, and there are a lot of unknowns in his situation,” he said. “But I expect to be dealing with patients in a similar manner that I always have and we’ll be following well-established protocols.”
When not working for the Reserve, Jones works full time as a nurse practitioner in Pocatello, Idaho, in a surgical center for patients who need extra levels of care. He said his experience in the civilian and military worlds have prepared him for whatever he is tasked to do in respond to COVID-19.
“We train on variety of medical skillsets in multiple areas, so we have the knowledge we need anytime the nation calls on us,” Jones said. “I’ve been called up once before for Hurricane Katrina. It’s nice to have been in (service) long enough to be used again in this capacity.”
Also called upon for her medical expertise was Maj. Katherine Trout, who works full time as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit in Salt Lake City, and part time in the 419th MDS.
“I’m not nervous at all about going,” Trout said. “As medical professionals, we’re always exposed to possible infections. I’ve been in the medical field for a long time, and deployed several times in the military. I’m definitely prepared.”
The 419th MDS is made up of more than 100 Reserve Citizen Airmen who train in a variety of specialties. More than 90 percent of its personnel are traditional reservists who serve part time while pursuing full-time careers in the civilian sector.