The Connecticut National Guard handed over the keys to the state commodities warehouse in New Britain to the Connecticut Department of Health on March 15, 2022, effectively ending its COVID-19 response mission for the foreseeable future.
On March 10, 2020, Gov. Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, activating the Connecticut National Guard to assist with operating the warehouse where the state received, organized, and distributed its shipments of personal protective equipment and other supplies to help battle the virus.
“To say I’m proud of all the men and women of the Connecticut National Guard who’ve assisted with the COVID-19 response would be an understatement,” said Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, adjutant general for the Connecticut National Guard. “As we rode the waves of this pandemic, we were called upon to help with many different missions, but our warehouse mission was a constant throughout it all.”
For more than 700 days of the Connecticut National Guard’s mission, the Soldiers and Airmen working at the warehouse helped the state distribute more than 38 million KN95 and N95 masks, 82 million surgical masks, 9 million surgical gowns, 128 million non-sterile gloves, 2 million disposable face shields, and 170 thousand Tyvek coveralls to 169 towns around the state.
In addition to running the warehouse, Guardsmen and members of the state militia also assisted with increasing bed capacity by nearly 2,500 in the form of mobile field hospitals and surge capacity at the Connecticut Convention Center and other disused gathering spaces. They helped support more than 150 testing and vaccination sites around the state and directly vaccinated more than 55,000 people. They also assisted with more than 2,500 nursing home inspections.
In total, the Connecticut National Guard performed more than 1,000 individual missions, a monumental accomplishment considering that over the past 24 months, these Guardsmen were also called upon to help with a variety of non-COVID-related incidents to include storm clean up after Hurricane Isaias, multiple cyber-attack responses, deployment to the state and nation’s capital for civil unrest, and the largest wave of overseas deployments in a decade to support our nation’s efforts abroad.
“Over the past two years, the Connecticut National Guard has competently demonstrated its motto of ‘Always Ready, Always There,’” said Evon. “Although our COVID mission may be over for now, we’re going to continue to monitor the situation and be ready if the state calls upon us again to help.”
The following day, March 16, 2022, also saw the final departure of active duty servicemembers who came to the state to assist in local hospitals, concluding all military support of COVID operations in the state.