Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has activated approximately 210 additional Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from throughout the state in support of COVID-19 response operations bringing the total number of activated Illinois National Guard members to about 860.
“This is why we put the uniform on, to assist our fellow citizens in need,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “I’m proud of our Guard members’ service as well as the devotion and dedication of their families. We couldn’t do what we do without the support and love of our Guard families.”
Approximately 42 Soldiers from the 1644th Transportation Company, based in Rock Falls, and 8 Soldiers from the 708th Medical Company, based in North Riverside, have been activated to conduct COVID-19 drive thru testing operations in Aurora. They reported to their readiness center for in processing and screening on Sunday, April 19. They are at the Aurora test site for training today, April 21, and are expected to begin testing operations tomorrow, April 22.
Approximately 50 Airmen, including eight medical technicians, from the 182nd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, have been activated to conduct COVID-19 drive thru testing operations in Rockford. They will be reporting to their wing for in processing and screening April 21. They will report to the Rockford test site for training April 23 and are expected to begin testing operations on April 24.
Approximately 26 Soldiers from the 3625th Classification and Inspection Company, based in North Riverside, have been activated to assist with COVID-19 drive thru tests sites in Harwood Heights and Markham. Approximately 18 Soldiers will be assigned to the Harwood Heights test site and eight assigned to the Markham test site.
Approximately 44 Illinois National Guard Airmen are providing health screenings at two Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) developmental centers, one in Kankakee and one in Park Forest.
About 22 Airmen, including two medical technicians, from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, based at Scott Air Force Base, have been activated as temperature checkpoint teams to augment IDHS staff at the Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee. Each checkpoint includes one person to take temperatures and one person to document temperatures and responses to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) screening questions per checkpoint. They are alleviating staff members to enable them to care for patients. Staff members have temperatures taken every four hours daily. The facility has provided the 126th ARW team with personal protection equipment, touchless thermometers and required training. The Airmen reported to their wing for in processing and screening Sunday and to the developmental center on Monday. The mission is temporary, and is expected to last approximately a week.
Approximately 22 Airmen, including two medical technicians, from the 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, have been activated as temperature checkpoint teams to augment IDHS staff at the Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest. Each checkpoint includes one person to take temperatures and one person to document temperatures and responses to the IDPH screening questions per checkpoint. Checkpoints provide temperature tests to staff from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The facility provided the 183rd Wing team with personal protection equipment, touchless thermometers and required training. The Airmen reported to their wing for in processing and screening Sunday and to the Developmental Center on Monday. The mission is temporary, and is expected to last approximately a week.
"We appreciate and welcome the assistance from the Illinois National Guard at our Shapiro and Ludeman Developmental Centers. Their presence will enable our staff to concentrate on the jobs they were trained to do -- which is to care for our residents," said IDHS Secretary Grace Hou. "During these challenging times, it is even more critical that all of our staff are dedicated to providing direct care for our residents in their homes."
Approximately 50 members of the Illinois Air National Guard are assisting with the build-out of two alternate care facilities in Melrose Park and Blue Island.
Approximately 13 Airmen with the 126th Air Refueling Wing, based at Scott Air Force Base, and approximately 12 Airmen with the 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, have been activated to assist with the build-out of an alternate care facility in Melrose Park. The Airmen reported to their wings Monday for in processing and screening and reported to the Melrose Park Alternate Care Facility site Tuesday.
Approximately 25 Airmen, who were activated to provide labor at the build-out of the McCormick Place in Chicago, reported Monday to Blue Island to assist with the build-out of an Alternate Care Facility in the Metro South Medical Center.
Two Soldiers, including one Soldier from the 661st Engineer Firefighting Team, based in Sparta and one Soldier from Forward Support Company, 123rd Engineer Battalion, based in Murphysboro, have been activated as medical liaisons to augment the expansion of mission to the Coles County area. These medical liaisons will assist in reporting data for six counties, including Piatt, Coles, Edgar, Crawford, Lawrence and Richland counties.
In addition, an Illinois Army National Guard Soldier has been activated as a Contracting Officer representative. The COR will monitor all COVID-19 contracts and support the Joint Task Force during the response operations.
A two-person Religious Support Team, consisting of a chaplain and religious affairs specialist from the 44th Chemical Battalion, based in Bloomington, was activated April 15 to provide religious support to all JTF-Illinois Task Forces and teams north of Bloomington, the teams at Stateville Correctional Center, Crest Hill, and Sheridan Correctional Center, Sheridan.
A two-person Religious Support Team from the Illinois Air National Guard has been activated to provide religious support to all JTF-Illinois Task Forces and teams. The RST will report to their wing on Tuesday for in processing and screening and report for duty Wednesday. This team will replace the 44th Chemical Battalion RST, which will deactivate.
Four Soldiers, including two Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, based in Kewanee, one Soldier from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, based in Marion, and one Soldier from Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Springfield, have been activated to conduct support operations at Stateville Correctional Center to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. These four Soldiers will replace four Soldiers already on mission at the facility.
Approximately 10 Soldiers with the 708th Medical Company have been tasked as a hospital screening team to conduct COVID-19 swabbing and health assistance in order to release residents from quarantine in support of the Christian County Health Department.
Soldiers and Airmen previously serving in support of COVID-19 response operations include: