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Governor summons additional National Guard troops in the coronavirus fight

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The Illinois National Guard announced Monday that Governor JB Pritzker had activated about 115 additional Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in support of COVID-19 response operations.

About 80 of these additional Illinois National Guard members will help with communications and reporting between county health departments throughout the state and the State Emergency Operations Center. Another 30 Illinois National Guard Airmen will assist in the establishment of a medical facility at Chicago's McCormick Place.

“The Illinois National Guard continues to play a vital role in the whole-of-government effort to control the spread of this deadly virus. We provide the state unique capabilities attained from both our military training and our civilian occupations,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “I’m so proud of these Soldiers and Airmen drawn from across the state to help their fellow citizens.”

Approximately 25 Soldiers from the 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, based in Chicago will assist county Emergency Management Operations Centers (EMOCs) in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.

About 15 Soldiers from the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, headquartered in Normal, will assist county EMOCs in Christian, Madison, St. Clair, Cumberland, Clinton, Washington and Jackson counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.

About 30 Soldiers from the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, will assist county EMOCs in Jo Davies, Stephenson, Winnebago, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Rock Island, Whiteside, Kankakee, Livingston, Peoria, Woodford, McLean, Champaign, Sangamon and Adams counties,  gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.

About a dozen Airmen from the 183rd Wing based in Springfield, the 126th Air Refueling Wing based at Scott Air Force Base, and the 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria, will manage the medical operations center and information collection in Springfield for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health.

About 30 Illinois Air National Guard members will provide labor in constructing a field hospital at McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. About 10 Airmen each have been activated from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 183rd Wing, and the 182nd Airlift Wing. They are expected to arrive at McCormick Place on Monday.

This brings the total number of Illinois National Guard service members directly supporting the COVID-19 response to about 380, with about 360 on state active duty.

Soldiers and Airmen serving on State Active Duty include:

  • Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 3637th Maintenance Company, based in Springfield assisting with logistics, administrative and safety procedures at a community-based testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. The site became operational Saturday, March 28.
  • Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis, supporting medical warehouse operations in central Illinois.
  • Another six service members working at the State Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and to provide analysis for potential flood response operations.
  • Approximately 60 Soldiers from the 3625th Maintenance Company, based in North Riverside, were activated to assist with logistics and operations at the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site in Chicago, which began operations on Monday, March 23.
  • Approximately 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Medical Group, based in Peoria, assisting with the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site and another state testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds.
  • About 20 full-time Air and Army National Guard members from the 5th Civil Support Team, based in Peoria, including medical professionals and experts in biological decontamination, assisting with command and control of National Guard forces at the community-based testing sites.
  • The 183rd Wing, the 182nd Airlift Wing, the 65th Troop Command, based in Peoria, and the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, have approximately 30 liaisons and planners including geospatial planners and medical planners who are embedded with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management, and Communications, Illinois State Police as well as serving at Illinois National Guard headquarters on Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

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