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News | May 11, 2020

COVID-19 Update #9

By Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities

To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilian Employees of the NHNG,
I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy Mother’s Day, especially our mothers serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was another busy week for us as we activated another 75-soldiers over the weekend. To date, more than 650 New Hampshire guardsmen – 450 NHARNG soldiers and 200 NHANG airmen – are supporting COVID-19 relief efforts across the state. Five task forces continue to run eight lines of effort concurrently.
This weekend soldiers assigned to the NH Food Bank distributed 37,000 meals during a mobile pantry at the NH Motor Speedway in Loudon. It was the third, large-scale food giveaway in the last three weeks with more forecasted until there is no longer a need.
We added a sixth COVID-19 testing site (Milford armory) and continue to operate a mobile version that travels to a new community every day.
The soldiers and airmen who have been manning call centers for Employment Security continue to excel, helping hundreds of out-of-work residents file unemployment claims. They have also proven themselves to be empathetic and caring when the need arises. Staff Sgt. Caleb Booth of the 157th Air Refueling Wing was recognized for going above and beyond, personally ensuring a particularly distressed caller was connected to a behavior health counselor.
Our soldiers and airmen continue to monitor the state’s domain against cyber-attacks, store and move thousands of pounds of PPE, manage hotel operations and assist with COVID mapping operations out of the Grappone Center in Concord. They are also providing security and medical screening support for our guardsmen and state employees involved in COVID support operations.
Our deployed soldiers and airmen, 86 in all, continue to do their part overseas supporting combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the Middle East. Last week, Capt. Brendan Meehan, a pilot with the 238th Medevac Company, was presented the Purple Heart by Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army, at Walter Reed Medical Center. Meehan has been recovering from a traumatic brain injury he suffered during a rocket attack at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq in January. He is doing well and is expected to return to New Hampshire soon. Three guardsmen continue to support the Southwest Border mission, while eight others are supporting stateside missions.
I’d also like to congratulate Major Brandon LaBelle who is assigned to the Regional Training Institute (RTI) as well as Captain Mario Rey of 3rd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, who both just graduated from US Army Ranger School. Ranger School is an elite, 62-day small unit tactics and premier leadership course based at Fort Benning, GA. In the midst of the NHNG’s COVID-19 response, their accomplishment is especially significant and a reminder that we remain focused on military training and readiness.
As our work continues, remember to safeguard against complacency and rumors. Stay informed. Maintain social distancing and hygiene protocols. If you are struggling financially or emotionally, contact the FAC’s resource and referral number at 1-877-598-0666, the Airman and Family Readiness Program Coordinator at 603-828-3892, or our Care Coordination Program at 1-888-989-9924.

Major General David Mikolaities
Adjutant General
New Hampshire National Guard