Connecticut National Guard assists medical supply distribution in support of COVID-19 pandemic response

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Connecticut National Guard soldiers have helped turn a 175,000 square foot warehouse into a primary distribution center in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trucks arrive filled with personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and medical equipment, and Guardsmen organize deliveries for distribution throughout the state. These Soldiers have organized equipment by type and size to expedite the delivery process.

“Right now we’re a command and control element that’s overseeing inbound and outbound deliveries of medical supplies,” said Master Sgt. Nicole Mackay, 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. “Supplies come in from FEMA and various equipment orders and we help organize those supplies to get them where they need to go.”

The first Soldiers arrived at the location Saturday, March 28, and operations were up and running by Monday morning. In total, 22 Soldiers are supporting three shifts at the warehouse for 24-hour operations.

This distribution center is one of many locations where the Connecticut National Guard has provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic response in support of the Governor’s office and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Guardsmen have also supported donation centers and constructed mobile shelters at local hospitals for potential patient use.

The Guardsmen in New Britain, like the many around the state, have applied their training and prior experience to adapt to the evolving situation the state and nation faces. Guardsmen are unique because they come from many different backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience from their civilian careers and education. Some of the team leadership here have backgrounds working for major logistics companies such as Amazon.

“This is something so unique and different from other things we’ve seen,” said Mackay. “I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to have such a great group of Soldiers who have stepped up and are willing to be here.”

The Guardsmen here are building interoperability with other organizations involved to effectively support the state’s response mission, said Mackay.

“Everybody is stepping up as team players right now,” said Mackay. “We’re in collaboration with the civilian workers here, and every day we’re working and improving our operation, and hopefully making a positive impact every day we come to work.”