The Utah National Guard Helps Reopen Local Economy

By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | State Public Affairs Office | May 19, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah —

In a warehouse-sized dock at the back of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah National Guard Soldiers and Airmen drive forklifts, stack cardboard boxes full of face masks, and siphon hand sanitizer out of 55-gallon steel drums into shampoo bottles. In just a few weeks, the Salt Palace transformed from a convention center into a buzzing hub for receiving, staging and shipping personal protective equipment for hospitals and small businesses across the state of Utah. As of May 14, 2020, the Utah National Guard has packaged 487,419 items of PPE, and delivered 45,066 packages to 3,601 businesses across Utah.

“We’re working together to protect the people of Utah,” said Russ Pierson, Utah Department of Health's Strategic National Stockpile Coordinator.
 
As the acting manager of receiving, staging and shipping, it’s Pierson’s job to make sure PPE keeps moving out the door, with the help of the Guard, he explained.
 
“The Guard has been a huge asset to us,” Pierson said. “I mean, we couldn’t ask for anyone better. They have the experience, discipline and manpower to do what we need to do.”
 
According to Pierson, Utah was supposed to receive personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile, but because of the H1N1 Flu outbreak in 2009, the stockpile had already been significantly depleted.
 
“We brought in about 10 or 15 loads from the stockpile, and that was it,” Pierson said. “So the rest of it was donated or purchased by the state of Utah.”
 
The donated and purchased PPE started to arrive at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City by truckloads. On May 5, 2020, Governor Gary R. Herbert announced the launch of the “PPE Push Pack” program to support small businesses in the transition to “moderate risk” COVID-19 protocols. According to the official press release, the program provided a free, one-week supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to sole proprietors and businesses with less than 50 employees across the state. By May 6, 2020, boxes were starting to pile up at the Salt Palace.
Members of the Utah National Guard were activated to assist with the PPE Push Pack initiative.
 
“I was called on Wednesday,” said Capt. Jessica Delph, RSS Warehouse Mission officer in charge. “They asked, ‘can you be here tomorrow?’ Because they had thousands of boxes of PPE on backorder.”
 
Delph currently oversees more than thirty Soldiers and Airmen from the Utah National Guard who have been working on a rotational basis to provide the manpower necessary to keep PPE products flowing in and out of the Salt Palace warehouse.
 
“What’s great about this mission is not only are we helping to facilitate health standards for local businesses, but we’re also helping to reopen the economy,” Delph said.
 
Like many of the Soldiers and Airmen working the RSS Warehouse Mission, Delph also has a civilian job waiting to reopen.
 
“This is why I joined the Guard; to help my community,” she said. “I know a lot of my Soldiers feel the same way. They come here every day and work hard because they believe in what we’re doing, helping to protect health workers, essential employees, and local businesses on the front lines.”

 The Utah National Guard will continue to receive, stage and ship items of PPE to businesses across the state.

 

 

 

Members of Utah's 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction, Civil Support Team (CST), Hawaii's 93rd CST, Guam's 94th CST and Alaska's 103rd CST train for disaster support on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
85th Civil Support Team responds in times of need
By Tech Sgt. John Winn | May 20, 2020
Members of the Utah National Guard's 85th Civil Support team respond to a myriad of situations including chemical spills, drug epidemics, nuclear detection and more, the mission of the CST is broad, but indispensable.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, assigned to the Utah National Guard, participate in medical training as a response force to Covid-19 in Sandy, Utah, May 12, 2020. Soldiers and Airmen with Utah National Guard will be assisting medical professionals in mobile Corona Virus test sites around the state as a service to Utah Residents. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pfc. Jacob Jesperson)
Utah National Guard Supports Utah Department of Health with COVID-19 Response
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | May 19, 2020
More than 100 soldiers and airmen from the Utah National Guard arrived at the Mountain America Expo

A Black Hawk helicopter crew from 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Utah National Guard drops water on the Saddle Fire in Midway, Utah, May 14, 2020. Two UH-60 Black Hawks were in the air above Midway by 9 a.m. and dropped 85 to 90 bucket loads of water on the fire.
Utah Guard Aviation Fights Saddle Fire
By Ileen Kennedy | May 19, 2020
Black Hawk helicopter aircrews from 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment,

Soldiers assigned to the Utah National Guard's 1st Battalion, 211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Aviation Regiment, depart the Army Aviation Support Facility, West Jordan, Utah, May 7, 2020. The battalion, comprised of three companies of AH-64 Apache helicopters and more than 300 soldiers, will provide combat air support to ground forces during the year-long deployment. (Utah National Guard photo by Ileen.Kennedy)
Utah Guard's Aviation Battalion Deploys During Pandemic 
By Ileen Kennedy | May 13, 2020
In this time of crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 300 Utah National Guard Soldiers

On April 16, 2020, Pvt. 1st Class Hope Torok took the final step to join the Utah National Guard, during one of the worst weeks of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.
“I’ve worked in retail pretty much all of my working years,” Torok explained. “During Covid-19 in March, I was furloughed from my work since it is considered a non-essential job.”
As a furloughed, non-essential worker, Torok said she had more time to think about what she wanted in life. She decided to sit down with a recruiter.
A message of hope: Utahns volunteer for military service during pandemic
By Spc. Felicia Olmos and Sgt. Nathaniel Free | April 30, 2020
Utahns continue to volunteer for military service despite increased restrictions on recruiting and

Spc. Kalani Bedell, a parachute rigger from the 19th Special Forces Group sews together two layers of fabric in this stage of mask production to protect Utah National Guard Soldiers during the Covid-19 Pandemic April 15, 2020 on Camp Williams. Masks are based on instructions from University of Florida Health, two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon
Parachute Riggers Make Face Masks to Protect the Utah National Guard
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | April 21, 2020
To slow the spread of COVID-19 among Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard, parachute

Service members assigned to the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Utah Army National Guard, conduct a meeting via video teleconference April 19, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 204th MEB is among the first National Guard units in the nation to conduct a teleworking drill or
How “Teledrill” Keeps Utah Service Members Safe and Ready
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | April 19, 2020
Service members assigned to the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Utah Army National Guard, were

An Ecuadorian C-130 loaded with humanitarian aid takes off from Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Utah, April 10, 2020. The aid, which is part of an ongoing humanitarian aid program, was collected and donated by Charity Anywhere, a Utah based non-profit organization. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Winn)
Utah National Guard helps transfer humanitarian aid to Ecuador
By Tech. Sgt. John Winn | April 13, 2020
Members of the Utah Air National Guard’s 151st Air Refueling Wing, assisted Charity Anywhere, a Utah

A military linguist competes in site exploitation event of the Polyglot Games during the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade’s 31st Annual Language Conference held March 7-8, 2020, at the Utah National Guard Headquarters in Draper, Utah. Teams and individuals competed in their core military intelligence skills in six different events to include language operational skills test, accent evaluation and site exploitation during the event. The Language Conference is an annual event that brings the military intelligence community together to participate in panel discussions, presentations and cutting-edge lectures on the significant issues and topics important to the language community. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Taylor Lakey-Tamacori).
300 MI hosts 31st Annual Military Intelligence Language Conference
By Spc. Taylor Lakey-Tamacori | April 9, 2020
The 300th Military Intelligence Brigade hosted the 31st annual Military Intelligence Language

Members of the Utah National Guard Homeland Response Force's decontamination team interact with role players during a mock domestic emergency in support of the Hawaii National Guard’s relief-in-place training exercise at the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu, Hawaii, Jan. 28-30, 2020. More than 150 Utah Guard members were transported by military aircraft to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to assist and train alongside their Hawaiian counterparts.
Utah National Guard Medical and Science Officers Join the Utah Economic Response Task Force as Data Analytics and Decision Support Advisory Team
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | March 27, 2020
Following Governor Herbert’s release yesterday of the Utah Economic Response Task Force Plan, “Utah