Illinois National Guard units working around state to shore up COVID-19 response

Chronicle Media


Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, The Adjutant General, Illinois National Guard, was on site at the Harwood Heights Community Testing site March 24. While at the facility, Neely observed Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen conducting testing procedures for first responders and healthcare workers. (U.S. Army photos by Maj. A.J. Ruggieri, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Office)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated about 60 additional soldiers and airmen on March 26 in support of COVID-19 response operations.

Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis will support medical warehouse operations in Central Illinois.

Another six service members were activated to work at the State Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and to provide analysis for potential flood response operations.

“The Illinois National Guard is in constant communications with our state partners and is proud to support them in the fight against this pandemic,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. “The dedicated men and women of the Illinois National Guard are willing and ready to protect their communities, state and nation.”

This brings the total number of Illinois National Guard service members directly supporting the COVID-19 response to about 200, with about 180 on state active duty.

The Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Medical Group, based in Peoria, has approximately 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians assisting with the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site.

Members of the Illinois National Guard rehearse, gear up, and begin operating the Harwood Heights Community-based COVID-19 testing site March 22. The drive-thru facility is testing 250 emergency responders and medical professionals per day. (Photos by Sgt. Chris Garibay, 139th MPAD, Illinois National Guard)

About 10 Airmen from the 182nd Civil Engineering Squadron, based in Peoria, have concluded reconnaissance and feasibility studies of potential additional healthcare facilities including hotels and shuttered hospitals to help the state build healthcare capacity.

Their findings are now being used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to contract the work that needs to be done on sites that could be brought back into use.

Approximately 50 Soldiers with the 3625th Maintenance Company, based in North Riverside  are assisting with logistics and operations at the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site.

Approximately 50 Soldiers with the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis are assisting with distribution operations at two warehouses in central Illinois housing medical supplies and equipment.

They are working hand-in-hand with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, and other county and municipal agencies to ensure those supplies are received and distributed as quickly and securely as possible to where they are most needed.

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, are assisting with

Airmen with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 182nd Medical Group inspect a hospital in the Chicago area March 21. The Airmen were called to state active duty in order to evaluate the potential reopening of several decommissioned hospitals. (Photos by Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Reed, Illinois Air National Guard)

command and control of National Guard forces at community-based testing sites.

The 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, Illinois, the 182nd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, the 65th Troop Command, also based in Peoria, and the 108th Sustainment Brigade, 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, the Illinois State Police as well as serving at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.