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Dover AFB to Serve as Key Hub in COVID-19 Fight

May 20, 2020 | BY AIR FORCE SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTOPHER QUAIL , 436th Airlift Wing

Given its strategic location, assets and capabilities, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware will serve as the East Coast hub for Transport Isolation System decontamination in the United States.

An airman opening the door to a Transport Isolation System.
System Check
Air Force Capt. Travis Parrott, a 3rd Airlift Squadron C-17 pilot and stage representative for Dover Air Force Base Transport Isolation System decontamination operations, opens the door to a TIS loaded on a C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 30, 2020. As part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19, personnel from six different units across the United States arrived at Dover Air Force Base and will remain assigned to the two TISs at Dover Air Force Base for as long as required.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200505-F-NX530-0098C

The TIS, as it's known, is an infectious disease containment unit designed to minimize risk to aircrew members, medical attendants and the airframe, allowing in-flight medical care for patients being transported.

Airmen will support and decontaminate TIS units used in conducting COVID-19-positive patient transport missions from Africa, Europe and the Middle East to the United States. In the ongoing fight against COVID-19, two TISs, along with trained medical airmen, arrived at Dover Air Force Base on April 30.The team is composed of service members from six different units from across the United States.

The Dover Air Force Base TIS team poses for a photo.
Mission Team
The Transport Isolation System mission team, composed of service members from six units across the United States, pose for a group photo in a C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Del., May 5, 2020. The personnel are assigned to two Transportation Isolation Systems that will remain at Dover Air Force Base for as long as required as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200505-F-NX530-0174C

"The airmen and infrastructure of Dover Air Force Base are vital to the TIS mission," said Air Force Col. Matthew Jones, the commander of the 436th Airlift Wing. "This is a total force effort between active duty, reservists and civilians. This team stands united against this shared threat, and we remain ready to deliver when called upon."

The TIS emerged as a result of mobility requirements identified during Operation United Assistance in support of the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

Airmen cover a Transport Isolation System with a tarp.
Weather Protection
Airmen cover two Transport Isolation Systems with tarps due to inclement weather at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 30, 2020. The TIS units were delivered to Dover by a C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. In accordance with health protection policies, Dover Air Force Base will serve as the sole hub for TIS decontamination on the East Coast.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200430-F-NX530-1040C

"We have two TIS modules here, because that is a standard configuration [in an aircraft]," said Air Force Maj. Mark Dellinger, the 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron training flight commander. "Each has the capability of carrying four patients.”

Medical personnel assigned to the TIS mission receive training, including familiarization with the system, patient loading and unloading procedures, donning and doffing personal protective equipment, simulated in-flight patient care and infection control procedures.

An airman guides a K-loader.
Loading Operations
An airman with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron guides a K-loader at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 30, 2020.. In accordance with health protection policies, Dover Air Force Base will serve as the sole hub for TIS decontamination on the East Coast.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200430-F-NX530-1137C

"The health and safety of our warfighters is paramount," said Air Force Capt. Travis Parrott, a 3rd Airlift Squadron C-17 pilot and stage representative for Dover Air Force Base TIS decontamination operations. "The TIS enables the Department of Defense to transport patients afflicted with or suspected of an infectious disease like COVID-19 from overseas to the United States, providing for an expedient recovery of its personnel, as well as preventing the spread of COVID-19 to aircrews."

Health protection policies have been established at Dover in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Department, in addition to local and state public health assessments.

Airmen cover a Transport Isolation System with a tarp.
Tarp Cover
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Silkworth, the 436th Aerial Port Squadron airfreight superintendent, throws a tarp up to Air Force Airman 1st Class Jose Gomez, a 14th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 30, 2020. The tarps were placed on top of the newly arrived Transport Isolation Systems due to inclement weather at Dover. In accordance with health protection policies, Dover Air Force Base will serve as the sole hub for TIS decontamination on the East Coast.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200430-F-NX530-1072C

As part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19, the TIS mission at Dover will continue for as long as required.

"With this mission, Dover Air Force Base is ensuring not only the safety of our mobility airmen, but also the readiness of our military as a whole," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, the 18th Air Force commander. "I am grateful for all the hardworking Dover airmen who are helping keep our entire force healthy during the battle against COVID-19."

(Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Quail is assigned to the 436th Airlift Wing.)