Feature   Defense News

Florida Guard Shines During Pandemic Response

May 12, 2020 | BY Army Sgt. Leia Tascarini

The Florida Army National Guard's 256th Medical Company Area Support has played an intricate and ever-evolving role in the state's COVID-19 pandemic response.

The units soldiers have collected specimens and conducted quality assurance and quality control, and also have trained other soldiers and civilians to serve as test administrators for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up testing sites in the 50th Regional Support Group area of operations.

Three National Guard soldiers wear protective equipment.
Screening Check
Florida National Guardsmen from the 256th Medical Company Area Support have been aiding the state’s COVID-19 response at the request of Florida Gov. Ron D. DeSantis. They have collected specimens and conducted quality assurance and quality control, and also have trained other soldiers and civilians to serve as test administrators for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up testing sites.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Leia Tascarini
VIRIN: 200408-A-UN364-803
Two National Guard soldiers wearing masks work at a check-in site for COVID-19 testing.
Guard Protection
Florida National Guardsmen from the 256th Medical Company Area Support have been aiding the state’s COVID-19 response at the request of Florida Gov. Ron D. DeSantis. They have collected specimens and conducted quality assurance and quality control, and also have trained other soldiers and civilians to serve as test administrators for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up testing sites.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Leia Tascarini
VIRIN: 200408-A-UN364-952

''The 256th has proven that they have the technical skills, expertise, and rapid adaptability to execute every mission with the resources it has and at a moment's notice,'' said Army Maj. Jacqueline S. Zuluaga, the 256th MCAS commander. ''Every member of the 256th has demonstrated true professionalism and 100% dedication to this mission.''

The soldiers have provided guidance and served as subject matter experts for other units running mobile testing teams around Florida. They also have served as liaisons among hospital administrative personnel, laboratories, the Health Department, nursing facilities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the departments of Health and Human Services and Transportation, local emergency medical services, police departments and other military units.

A National Guard soldier wearing physical training clothes and a face mask briefs similarly attired soldiers who are seated at tables.
Masked Training
Florida National Guardsmen from the 256th Medical Company Area Support have been aiding the state’s COVID-19 response at the request of Florida Gov. Ron D. DeSantis. They have collected specimens and conducted quality assurance and quality control, and also have trained other soldiers and civilians to serve as test administrators for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up testing sites.
Photo By: Army Maj. Jacqueline Zuluaga
VIRIN: 200429-A-UN364-177

In support of the fight against COVID-19, the 256th MCAS designed and developed a detailed training program for mobile training teams and mobile testing groups to train nonmedical personnel such as truck drivers, infantry and military intelligence personnel to be part of medical teams. They trained 40 mobile testing team members assigned to the 50th Regional Support Group and several trainers belonging to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

In addition to training personnel and soldiers, the 256th MCAS also helped develop the standard operating procedures for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up test site operations in south Florida.

Three National Guard soldiers wearing protective equipment man a COVID-19 testing site.
Geared Up
Florida National Guardsmen from the 256th Medical Company Area Support have been aiding the state’s COVID-19 response at the request of Florida Gov. Ron D. DeSantis. They have collected specimens and conducted quality assurance and quality control, and also have trained other soldiers and civilians to serve as test administrators for community-based testing sites, mobile testing teams and walk-up testing sites.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Leia Tascarini
VIRIN: 200415-A-UN364-041

''The 256th has been one of the Florida Guard's greatest assets during the COVID-19 response,'' said Army Col. Ricardo Roig, the commander of the 50th Regional Support Group. ''Their soldiers' professionalism, knowledge, expertise and commitment to the mission has been exceptional.''

(Army Sgt. Leia Tascarini is assigned to the Florida Army National Guard's 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)