ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. – The New Jersey National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing has ended its more than four-month support of the state in its battle against COVID-19.
“We are off the NJ COVID-19 response mission, but standing at the ready for additional NJ COVID-19 response support should the need arise,” said Air Force Col. Bradford Everman, 177th FW commander.
The Jersey Devils helped set up and run mobile testing sites and helped set up federal medical stations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Health, the Office of Emergency Management, and the New Jersey National Guard.
Airmen transported and distributed medical supplies, helped care for patients, supported the state’s Memorial Veterans Homes and provided meals to Veterans Haven facilities. After helping to create additional medical capacity, Jersey Devils participated in the tear-down, pack-up and inventory of the supplies.
Beginning March 16, when Gov. Phil Murphy announced he was authorizing elements of the New Jersey National Guard for state active duty to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, Airmen of the 177th FW answered the call.
In March, along with members of the 108th Wing, 18 Jersey Devils began setting up and operating a COVID-19 testing site at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel in partnership with FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey National Guard.
In April, 177th FW members supported the federal medical station at Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients. Additional unit members supported Joint Task Force 57 at the NJ Air National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt, while four Jersey Devils deployed to the Joint Operations Center in Lawrenceville to help with command and control functions.
Also in April, over 30 Jersey Devils helped set up and maintain the federal medical station at the Atlantic City Convention Center, while six Jersey Devils deployed to support Mortuary Affairs in Newark. Six members deployed to New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison and 18 to the NJ Veterans Home in Paramus to care for residents and support the staff. The homes, which are run by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, have more than 540 residents who have served in every war since World War II.
By May, over 30 Jersey Devils were the lead unit for the Vineland Veterans Home, helping with housekeeping, food service, health screening checkpoints, facility engineering and life enrichment missions. Two 177th unit members helped the kitchen staff at Veterans Haven North in Glen Gardner, preparing 2,400 meals a day for residents at the Haven and the Hunterdon Developmental Center.
On May 12, the 108th Wing and 177th Fighter Wing, NJANG, performed flyovers across the tristate area to honor health care workers, first responders and others working on the front lines to combat COVID-19. By May 15, more than 900 members of the New Jersey National Guard continued to assist the whole-of-America response to COVID-19.
At the end of May, after 68 days of working the security support mission at the Holmdel drive-thru test site, members of the New Jersey Air National Guard turned their mission over to civilians. Forty-five Airmen from both the 108th Wing and 177th Fighter Wing, NJANG, helped test more than 13,000 New Jersey citizens and also responded to four motor vehicle accidents, 18 medical emergencies, and 15 disabled vehicles.
On June 1, the majority of Jersey Devils at New Jersey Veterans homes in Paramus and Edison finished their mission.
In July, 19 Jersey Devils transitioned to support two civilian long-term care facilities in South Jersey, supporting COVID-19 patients, and the last three Jersey Devils at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park completed their mission, finishing with a 100% success rate: zero COVID-19 cases for both residents and NJ DMAVA staff.
On July 23, the last two Jersey Devils completed their mission at the JOC in Lawrenceville.