FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – As the 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade prepares for deployment, Soldiers like Staff Sgt. Raymond Mutiso and Spc. Padric Marianos are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the formation.“We are part of Operation Safe Haven. We are part of the screening team,” said Mutiso. “Because of COVID-19, the garrison commander deems it necessary for us to screen anyone on post. So this way, we can ensure that we are mitigating the spread of the virus.”The 28th ECAB members have become very familiar with these two Soldiers lately. Every day before entering the armory and beginning their training, all Soldiers, contractors and anyone else coming in contact with the 28th ECAB must put on a face mask and report to screeners like Mutiso and Marianos.“We present questions to them about their health, and if they answer anything ‘yes,’ then we have to direct them to our health care providers for additional screening,” said Mutiso. “So, in a way, we are on the frontline of trying to ensure we do not have an outbreak on the base.”The questionnaire has four questions covering COVID-19 symptoms as well as contact exposure. If a Soldier has been traveling or believes a family member may be sick, they are routed for additional screening.“It’s a way to ensure that we’re not unnecessarily creating or making the problem worse than it is,” said Mutiso. “We’ve already seen the disruption that COVID-19 has caused on day-to-day living. The base is locked down, nothing is open and we don’t want it to get worse than it already is.”Mutiso and Marianos are actually not assigned to the 28th ECAB. Mutiso, from Scranton, is a combat medic with the 108th Area Medical Support Company, 213th Regional Support Group. Marianos, from York, is a horizontal construction engineer with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Training Center.But they are both committed to Pennsylvania’s mission of preventing the spread of the virus and keeping 28th ECAB Soldiers healthy during pre-deployment training.“I feel like what we’re doing is part of a bigger picture. If the base gets closed by the pandemic, then we can’t go on to assist the state with slowing the pandemic,” said Marianos. “A lot of operations are launched out of Fort Indiantown Gap. If we were to be compromised, it would impact the state’s ability to help during the pandemic.”The Pennsylvania National Guard has been very active across the state during the pandemic. Pennsylvania Soldiers and Airmen have transported quarantined cruise passengers, set up care centers, distributed meals and assisted at testing sites.To Mutiso and Marianos, their current mission is just as important and rewarding.“As a Soldier, you are always going to be called upon to go on different missions,” said Mutiso. “The mission one day could be helping provide relief from a flood, but this particular mission is preventing the virus from getting worse.”The 28th ECAB is to deploy to the Middle East despite the pandemic. Pre-deployment training has been adjusted to comply with state and national directives. Thanks to Mutiso, Marianos and other Soldiers assigned to screening, the 28th ECAB can safely continue training to be ready for their mission overseas.“Not only are we keeping other Soldiers and workers here safe but we’re keeping them from going back to their families and getting their children or spouses sick,” said Marianos. “This is our homeland and everyone is at stake here and that’s what we’re trying to help with.”For more National Guard news: http://www.nationalguard.mil/National Guard Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNationalGuard/National Guard Twitter: https://twitter.com/usnationalguardHow the National Guard is helping: https://www.nationalguard.mil/coronavirus/Photos of the National Guard response: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/albums/72157713483827538Latest from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/U.S. response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/White House-CDC response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/