By Sgt. Leia Tascarini
107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Florida National Guard Spc. Joe Morales-McCullers, 13th Army Band Miramar Fla., waits for passengers arriving from the New York area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, March 25, 2020. The 13th Army Band is helping screen the passengers to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida National Guard's 13th Army Band is helping combat COVID-19 by screening passengers flying into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) from the New York area.
The Soldiers are supporting the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and responding to Gov. Ron DeSantis' request to stop the introduction of the virus into the state of Florida by screening people traveling from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to Florida.
While the Army Band's primary mission is to provide musical support at civil and military functions, band members are conducting the airport screening, setting up and supporting testing sites, and working other missions in support of the state.
"I am grateful to be here," said Spc. Xenia J. Rivera, a flutist with 13th Army Band. "I am happy to help people. That is why I joined the National Guard."
The Army Band Soldiers are taking on new roles regardless of their military occupation specialty.
"I feel like we are doing something useful for the public and we are getting the job done," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Francis, a 13th Army Band trombone player. "Army musicians are unique. We interact with the public naturally, and it allows us to adapt to different missions involving the public with little difficulty."