SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has activated approximately 80 additional Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from throughout the state in support of COVID-19 response operations bringing the total number of activated Illinois National Guard members to about 650.
“The men and women in our National Guard have been tasked with many challenging missions in this fight against a deadly virus,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “I’m confident in their abilities, resilience and strength.”
Approximately 40 members of the Illinois National Guard manning the Harwood Heights Community Testing site in Chicago and the McLean County Community Testing site in Bloomington will establish a third COVID-19 test site in Markham, Illinois. The test site is scheduled to open Tuesday, April 14, and will provide between 250-500 COVID-19 tests daily. Criteria for this third site will be determined by health officials.
Approximately 20 Illinois National Guard members will be conducting logistical support missions at hotels in Schaumburg, Springfield and Mount Vernon that are being established as alternate housing facilities. The facilities will help when health officials recommend that an individual self-quarantine, but that individual does not have the housing needed to quarantine from others.
About 10 Soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Urbana will be assigned to provide medical support at Sheridan Correctional Facility in Sheridan. The Soldiers assigned are medically trained and will be providing health screenings to the inmates at the facility augmenting the Illinois Department of Corrections’ health professionals at the prison. The team will work closely with the Illinois Department of Corrections to ensure the safety of Soldiers and inmates while conducting health screenings.
The 44th Chemical Battalion Unit Ministry Team, based in Bloomington, consisting of a chaplain and religious affairs specialist, as well as a religious support team from the Air National Guard have been activated to provide religious support operations over Easter weekend at various locations where our service members are on duty.
Three additional medics have been activated to support medical screening operations at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill. One Soldier is from Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), based in Springfield, and two Soldiers are from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, based in Kewanee. They reported to their readiness center for in processing and screening on April 10.
Approximately 40 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment, with headquarters in Chicago, have been activated to assist the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Soldiers reported April 11 for in processing and screening and received training regarding the care and ethical considerations of providing mortuary assistance. (Note: Due to the sensitivity of the mission, the Illinois National Guard will not be offering interviews or photography of these Soldiers performing their duties. The Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office will continue to respond to media queries.)
In addition, the 634th Brigade Support Battalion Unit Ministry Team, consisting of a chaplain and religious affairs specialist, both with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 634th BSB, based in Sullivan, have been activated to provide religious support to the mortuary assistance teams.
This brings the total number of Illinois National Guard service members directly supporting the COVID-19 response to about 640.
Soldiers and Airmen serving in support of COVID-19 response operations include:
- About 30 Army and Air National Guard members from the 183rd Wing and 65th Troop Command make up the Joint Task Force – Headquarters, based in Springfield. The Joint Task Force provides command and control for over approximately 400 National Guard personnel deployed throughout the state.
- Approximately 35 Soldiers from the 708th Medical Company, based in North Riverside, supporting hospital medical screening operations at impacted hospitals throughout the state.
- About 22 Airmen from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, based at Scott Air Force Base, the 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, and the 182rd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, and two Soldiers from Joint Force Headquarters, Springfield, are assigned to the Unified Area Command-North (SUAC-N) at the Thompson Center in Chicago. SUAC-N is a planning coordination cell assisting with the state’s response to COVID-19 in the Chicagoland and out-laying areas coordinating with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies.
- An additional approximately 30 Illinois Air National Guard Airmen are providing labor in support of the Army Corps of Engineers and McCormick Place buildout mission. About 10 Airmen each have been activated from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 183rd Wing, and the 182nd Airlift Wing. This is in addition to the 30 Airmen previously activated for the first phase of the McCormick Place mission.
- Approximately 30 Soldiers from Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Springfield, providing medical support at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, near Joliet.
- Approximately 25 Soldiers from the 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, based in Chicago assisting county Emergency Management Operations Centers (EMOCs) in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
- About 15 Soldiers from the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, headquartered in Normal, assisting county EMOCs in Christian, Madison, St. Clair, Cumberland, Clinton, Washington and Jackson counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
- About 30 Soldiers from the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, assisting county EMOCs in Jo Davies, Stephenson, Winnebago, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Rock Island, Whiteside, Kankakee, Livingston, Peoria, Woodford, McLean, Champaign, Sangamon and Adams counties, gathering information and reporting that data to the Medical Operations Center in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.
- About a dozen Airmen from the 183rd Wing based in Springfield, the 126th Air Refueling Wing based at Scott Air Force Base, and the 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria, managing the medical operations center and information collection in Springfield for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health.
- About 30 Illinois Air National Guard members providing labor in constructing a field hospital at McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. About 10 Airmen each have been activated from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 183rd Wing, and the 182nd Airlift Wing.
- Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 3637th Maintenance Company, based in Springfield assisting with logistics, administrative and safety procedures at a community-based testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. The site became operational Saturday, March 28.
- Approximately 50 Soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis, supporting medical warehouse operations in central Illinois.
- Another six service members working at the State Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and to provide analysis for potential flood response operations.
- Approximately 60 Soldiers from the 3625th Maintenance Company, based in North Riverside, Illinois, were activated to assist with logistics and operations at the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site in Chicago, Illinois, which began operations on Monday, March 23.
- Approximately 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Medical Group, based in Peoria, assisting with the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site and another state testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington.
- About 20 full-time Air and Army National Guard members from the 5th Civil Support Team, based in Peoria, including medical professionals and experts in biological decontamination, assisting with command and control of National Guard forces at the community-based testing sites.
- The 183rd Wing, the 182nd Airlift Wing, the 65th Troop Command, based in Peoria, and the 108th Sustainment Brigade, based in Chicago, have approximately 30 liaisons and planners including geospatial planners and medical planners who are embedded with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management, and Communications, the Illinois State Police as well as serving at Illinois National Guard headquarters on Camp Lincoln in Springfield.