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U.S. military deploys to Texas and California in support of COVID-19 operations

Image of medical personnel in a hospital room. Click to open a larger version of the image. U.S Army critical care nurses 1st Lt. Charles Gilcrist and 1st Lt. Lauryn Hudgins from Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force - 627 work to provide medical care to a COVID-19 patient alongside Baptist Hospital medical staff, in San Antonio, Texas, July 10, 2020. The UAMTF is comprised of Soldiers with various medical specialties from the 627th Hospital Center, Fort Carson, Colo., and deployed to support San Antonio hospitals during the COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to states in need.

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At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state officials, approximately 740 Department of Defense medical and support professionals from the Army, Navy and Air Force deployed to support COVID-19 operations in Texas and California.

“We are committed to assisting those in need as part of the ongoing whole-of-America response to COVID-19,” said Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, U.S. Army North commander. “At the same time, we remain flexible and capable of providing other defense support to civil authorities as necessary.”

Approximately 160 Air Force medical and support personnel deployed to California, while approximately 580 Army and Navy medical and support personnel deployed to Texas.

"Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Defense for providing these additional resources to the Houston region as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and care for our fellow Texans," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. "We will continue to work with our local and federal partners to help ensure that all medical needs are met in Houston and throughout the state."

An additional four, 85-person U.S. Army Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force (UAMTF), along with a 44-person acute care team and four, seven-person Rapid Rural Response Teams from the U.S. Navy, were also activated at the behest of Texas to support statewide efforts.

"It's an honor to be in San Antonio, Texas, providing care to patients alongside local hospital staff,” said Army Capt. Sarah Kopaciewicz, a UAMTF 627 critical care nurse embedded at one of five local medical centers. “I was doing similar work, treating COVID-19 positive patients, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State before being employed here."

"Our Soldiers train daily to maintain clinical skills so we can save and sustain lives wherever and whenever the nation calls,” said Army Lt. Col. Jason Hughes, UAMTF 627 commander. “We're proud to be here to support FEMA and Texas, and will work side by side with hospital workers to help communities as long as we are needed.”

As part of the whole-of-America response, U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, will oversee the military operations in support of FEMA and state and local officials.

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