HANFORD, Calif. – At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and in support of U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North , approximately 160 Airmen assigned to the 60th Medical Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., fulfilled a need for additional healthcare workers at eight hospitals across California.“We are committed to assisting those in need as part of the ongoing whole-of-America response to COVID-19,” said Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commanding general, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) and the Joint Force Land Component Command (JFLCC). “At the same time, we remain flexible and capable of providing other defense support to civil authorities as necessary.”U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jarrid Wilson is one such Airman and cardiopulmonary lab technician who is working at Adventist Health Hanford to augment civilian medical providers in need of support. He works on both COVID-19 positive and negative patients.According to Wilson, the use of PPE is absolutely critical to ensuring civilian and military medical providers are able to treat patients.“While we are working on the front lines at Adventist Hanford and across the board at these other medical facilities, PPE is our frontline for protection from this virus,” said Wilson. “It keeps us safe while we’re working with these patients.”The equipment that is used to protect the workers include N95 masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, and a set of headgear called a positive airway pressure respirator, or PAPR mask, that completely encases the wearer’s head for maximum protection. Wilson states that, no matter how uncomfortable this equipment can be, a strong focus on protecting those who protect us is the only way forward.“It may be uncomfortable for a lot of us, but at the same time, we’re in this together,” said Wilson. “It’s important for us to do our part to protect ourselves as well as the individuals around us.”“America’s military stands prepared and ready to respond in America’s time of need, against all foes, whether COVID-19 or foreign threats,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Stone, commanding general, Task Force Center-West, a task force formed from the Michigan National Guard’s 46th Military Police Command which is U.S. Army North’s subordinate headquarters providing command and control of Army, Air Force and Navy medical personnel deployed to California and Texas as part of Department of Defense COVID-19 relief efforts.Following Center for Disease Control guidelines, like Wilson and his team does, helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19. It is a key component to maintaining readiness and the success of military medical personnel who have traveled across the nation to provide relief.