Hawaiʻi National Guard concludes COVID-19 support mission
The Hawai‘i National Guard’s Joint Task Force has transitioned its remaining COVID-19 responsibilities such as vaccinations, testing, COVID-19 mapping, and unemployment office temperature screenings back to the state as of March 15, 2022.
The HING JTF has been on orders assisting the state since April 6, 2020. The organization was first activated and put on State Active Duty orders before transitioning to Title 32 U.S.C. 502 (f) duty, which provided federal funding that covered up to 100% of the cost activities associated with all mission assignments in response to COVID-19.
At its peak, the HING JTF held about 1,300 Soldiers and Airmen on COVID-19 status across the state. About 300 Guardsmen make up the current force that off-ramped on March 15, according to a state press release. These Guardsmen will take mandatory leave and then officially come off orders on April 1, 2022, returning to their full-time jobs or school with additional skills and experiences, according to the update.
The Hawai‘i National Guard’s COVID-19 assistance to federal, state, and local authorities has been the longest state activation/mission in its history. Past long-term activations include Hurricane Iniki in 1992, the Kīlauea eruption in 2018, the Kaua‘i floods and landslides in 2018, and security support for the United States Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. in 2021.
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Victorino proclaimed, March 14, 2022, as National Guard Appreciation Day in Maui County. The Mayor’s proclamation honored Hawaiʻi National guardsmen and women for their service over the course of the pandemic.
National Guard personnel provided assistance to:
- The Maui District Health Office and Hawaiʻi Department of Health with COVID-19 education and testing throughout Maui County, vaccination administration, contact tracing, mapping, and monitoring.
- The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation with temperature screenings at airports and harbors on Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi.
- The Maui Fire Department with construction of emergency pallet shelter homes at Waiʻale Park in Wailuku.