Throughout Military Appreciation Month, we have rightly joined in expressing gratitude for our service members, their families and their daily sacrifices on our behalf. In answering the call to serve, members of our military demonstrate incredible loyalty, and their sense of duty and patriotism is truly unmatched. Some will miss weddings, funerals or the births of their own children. And as we solemnly thought of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, we remembered that some will even make the ultimate sacrifice, offering their last full measure of devotion to their nation.
DOMESTIC, GLOBAL EMERGENCIES
This year, we recognize that military service extends beyond the combat operations that many of us often think of and into domestic and global emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to their usual assignments and duties, our service members have indeed taken on new challenges to protect us in the battle against a ruthless invisible enemy.
Whether through the deployment of emergency staff, distribution of life-saving supplies and equipment, support and mobilization of patient care sites or assistance with certified tests and biosurveillance, their dedication and sense of duty to the response is beyond admirable.
In fact, there are currently more than 57,500 Department of Defense (DOD) personnel supporting some aspect of coronavirus relief efforts. That includes more than 1,100 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and medical support personnel.
And serving at the direction of governors in all 50 states, there are currently more than 46,000 members of the National Guard activated, which represents the largest domestic response in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina.
In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during this crisis, various DOD personnel have also undergone 64 site missions – including to construct alternate care facilities, to support exist- ing sites and to assess and expand bed capacity for the nation’s healthcare system. To date, DOD has also facilitated delivery of 20 million N95 masks and 8 million test swabs to FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services.
During these uncertain times, I am grateful that we can count on our courageous military service members and personnel. When called upon in times of crisis as well as times of relative peace, they always stand ready to take on the selfless burden to defend, protect and aid their fellow Americans.
They deserve our full support and admiration now and always.