Hawai‘i National Guard Increasing Personnel to 1,200 for COVID-19 Response

April 16, 2020, 8:03 AM HST · Updated April 16, 8:04 AM
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Airman 1st Class Jolene Chun performing the daily temperature screening of Soldiers on State Active Duty (SAD) assigned to Task Force Oahu, March 30, 2020, Honolulu, Hawaii. Soldiers who volunteered to assist with the COVID-19 response are screened every morning by the HING CERF-P medical team to ensure everyone is healthy. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. John Schoebel)

The Hawai‘i National Guard is increasing its personnel to 1,200 Guardsmen today to help with the COVID-19 response. Last week, 400 Soldiers and Airmen were activated. An additional 800 Guardsmen will be brought on status to assist by today.

National Guard Commanders for each island have been in contact with the county mayors and emergency management team to best help the state in its COVID-19 response.

On Maui, Col. Tyson Tehara is helping to organize the effort.  He said about 50% of his task force are from Maui County with the rest coming from Oʻahu. The guard on Maui is assisting the Maui Police Department with roving traffic check points, providing a liaison at the county’s emergency operations center, and assisting with airport screening.

The National Guard has received federal funding to assist in pay and allowances for Soldiers and Airmen.

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Joint Task Force Commander Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr. said, “I am confident that by working together, we will meet our objectives of continuing to flatten the curve and create a safe and secure environment for the people of Hawai‘i.”

Soldiers Returning to Hawai‘i After Deployment

A Hawaiʻi Army National Guard unit, the 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, returned home Wednesday night from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

About 300 Soldiers took a chartered flight from Fort Bliss, Texas to reunite with their families at a National Guard facility.

Only two members from each Soldier’s family were allowed to attend the reunion and were asked to stay in their cars the entire time to ensure social-distancing rules.

The Soldiers completed a 14-day quarantine before leaving Texas.

Once arriving in Hawaiʻi, they will be subject to the governor’s stay-at-home order.

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