Feature   Defense News

Aircraft Carrying Supplies for Emergency Field Hospital Lands at Plant 42

Jan. 15, 2021 | BY Giancarlo Casem

A DC-8 cargo aircraft from Samaritan's Purse landed at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base carrying supplies for the construction of an emergency field hospital at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California.

The field hospital will be set up to support the Antelope Valley community by treating COVID-19 patients. The effort is spearheaded by Samaritan's Purse, a faith-based humanitarian aid organization that has provided physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine.

An aircraft taxis on an airstrip.
Samaritan’s Purse
A Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 taxis into NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., Jan. 11, 2021. The aircraft delivered supplies for an emergency field hospital being constructed at Antelope Valley Hospital in nearby Lancaster, Calif. Samaritan’s Purse is a charitable organization which has partnered with Lancaster Baptist Church, the city of Lancaster and Antelope Valley Hospital to provide a 70-bed temporary field hospital to support COVID-19 patients.
Photo By: Giancarlo Casem, Air Force
VIRIN: 210111-F-HC101-1001C

To support the effort, Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale has allowed use of its airfield for delivery of the initial components as well as resupply missions. The 412th Test Wing leadership at Edwards Air Force Base, California, has also requested for volunteers to help staff the emergency field hospital.

"Plant 42 is often referred to as the 'downtown' Air Force. Our location puts us strategically in the heart of the Lancaster/Palmdale communities in the Aerospace Valley," said Dr. David Smith, Air Force Plant 42 director. "As such, our personnel and more importantly our thousands of mission partners call this home. We are delighted to extend medical care to our community as it directly impacts our 'home team' area of operations. This care facility also directly supports our own personnel's medical needs, which in turn directly support the warfighter."

Three men in face masks have a conversation.
Cali Chat
Dr. Roderick Davis, Air Force Plant 42 deputy director, and Ken Neitzel, Air Force Plant 42 airfield operations director, talk with Edward Graham, assistant to the vice president of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse.
Photo By: Giancarlo Casem, Air Force
VIRIN: 210111-F-HC101-1002C

Samaritan's Purse's Assistant to the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations, Edward Graham, was accompanied by Plant 42 and NASA Armstrong leadership as the DC-8 arrived and its contents were off-loaded by NASA and Samaritan's Purse crews. They have partnered with Lancaster Baptist Church and Antelope Valley Hospital to construct the 70-bed field hospital. The field hospital will serve COVID-19-positive patients who do not need the support of a ventilator.

Plant 42 is no stranger to supporting the local community, from providing support to STEM engagements at local schools to executing mutual aid for major wildland fires and nearby vehicle accidents, Smith explained.

A man offloads supplies from an aircraft.
Supply Offload
A NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center crewmember offloads supplies from a DC-8 for an emergency field hospital at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., Jan. 11, 2021. Samaritan’s Purse is a charitable organization which has partnered with Lancaster Baptist Church, the city of Lancaster and Antelope Valley Hospital to provide a 70-bed temporary field hospital to support COVID-19 patients.
Photo By: Giancarlo Casem, Air Force
VIRIN: 210111-F-HC101-1003C

"The entire Plant 42 team is delighted to support our community. This is our home, so the dedication and selfless service from our personnel and our mission partners is most satisfying," Smith said. "Service is a core value of our Air Force, and the folks at the plant exemplify this valued characteristic."

(Giancarlo Casem is assigned to the 412th Test Wing.)