NEWS | April 17, 2020

Governor Activates about 210 Additional Illinois National Guard Members for COVID-19 Response Operations

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:

  • Approximately 40 members of the Illinois National Guard manning the Harwood Heights Community Testing site in Chicago and the McLean County Community Testing site in Bloomington have established a third COVID-19 test site in Markham, Illinois, which opened April 14. The test site is authorized to provide 750 COVID-19 tests daily. Criteria for this third site will be determined by health officials.
  • Approximately 20 Illinois Air National Guard members are conducting logistical support missions at hotels in Schaumburg, Springfield and Mount Vernon that are being established as alternate housing facilities. The facilities will help when health officials recommend that an individual self-quarantine, but that individual does not have the housing needed to quarantine from others.
  • About 10 Soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Urbana are assigned to provide medical support at Sheridan Correctional Facility in Sheridan. The Soldiers assigned are medically trained and will be providing health screenings to the inmates at the facility augmenting the Illinois Department of Corrections’ health professionals at the prison. The team will work closely with the Illinois Department of Corrections to ensure the safety of Soldiers and inmates while conducting health screenings.
  • The 44th Chemical Battalion Unit Ministry Team, based in Bloomington, consisting of a chaplain and religious affairs specialist, as well as a religious support team from the Air National Guard were activated to provide religious support operations over Easter weekend at various locations where our service members are on duty.
  • Three additional medics have been activated to support medical screening operations at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill. One Soldier is from Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), based in Springfield, and two Soldiers are from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, based in Kewanee. They reported to their readiness center for in processing and screening on April 10.
  • Approximately 40 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment, with headquarters in Chicago, have been activated to assist the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Soldiers reported April 11 for in processing and screening and received training regarding the care and ethical considerations of providing mortuary assistance.
  • In addition, the 634th Brigade Support Battalion Unit Ministry Team, consisting of a chaplain and religious affairs specialist, both with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 634th BSB, based in Sullivan, have been activated to provide religious support to the mortuary assistance teams
  • About 30 Army and Air National Guard members from the 183rd Wing and 65th Troop Command make up the Joint Task Force – Headquarters, based in Springfield. The Joint Task Force provides command and control for over approximately 400 National Guard personnel deployed throughout the state.
  • Approximately 35 Soldiers from the 708th Medical Company, based in North Riverside, supporting hospital medical screening operations at impacted hospitals throughout the state.
  • About 22 Airmen from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, based at Scott Air Force Base, the 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, and the 182rd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, and two Soldiers from Joint Force Headquarters, Springfield, are assigned to the Unified Area Command-North (SUAC-N) at the Thompson Center in Chicago. SUAC-N is a planning coordination cell assisting with the state’s response to COVID-19 in the Chicagoland and out-laying areas coordinating with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies.
  • An additional approximately 30 Illinois Air National Guard Airmen are providing labor in support of the Army Corps of Engineers and McCormick Place buildout mission. About 10 Airmen each have been activated from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 183rd Wing, and the 182nd Airlift Wing. This is in addition to the 30 Airmen previously activated for the first phase of the McCormick Place mission.
  • Approximately 30 Soldiers from Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Springfield, providing medical support at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, near Joliet.
  • Approximately 25 Soldiers from the 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, based in Chicago assisting county Emergency Management Operations Centers (EMOCs) in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
  • About 15 Soldiers from the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, headquartered in Normal, assisting county EMOCs in Christian, Madison, St. Clair, Cumberland, Clinton, Washington and Jackson counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
  • About 30 Soldiers from the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, assisting county EMOCs in Jo Davies, Stephenson, Winnebago, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Rock Island, Whiteside, Kankakee, Livingston, Peoria, Woodford, McLean, Champaign, Sangamon and Adams counties,  gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
  • About a dozen Airmen from the 183rd Wing based in Springfield, the 126th Air Refueling Wing based at Scott Air Force Base, and the 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria, managing the medical operations center and information collection in Springfield for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • About 30 Illinois Air National Guard members providing labor in constructing a field hospital at McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. About 10 Airmen each have been activated from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 183rd Wing, and the 182nd Airlift Wing.
  • Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 3637th Maintenance Company, based in Springfield assisting with logistics, administrative and safety procedures at a community-based testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. The site became operational Saturday, March 28.
  • Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis, supporting medical warehouse operations in central Illinois.
  • Another six service members working at the State Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and to provide analysis for potential flood response operations.
  • Approximately 60 Soldiers from the 3625th Maintenance Company, based in North Riverside, Illinois, were activated to assist with logistics and operations at the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site in Chicago, Illinois, which began operations on Monday, March 23.
  • Approximately 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Medical Group, based in Peoria, assisting with the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site and another state testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington.
  • 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, assisting with command and control of National Guard forces at the community-based testing sites.
  • The 183rd Wing, the 182nd Airlift Wing, the 65th Troop Command, based in Peoria, and the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, 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 Illinois National Guard headquarters on Camp Lincoln in Springfield.