LOS ANGELES, –
The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, deployed approximately 220 Soldiers to Los Angeles to assist the state of California and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to members of the Los Angeles community from Feb. 16 to April 11, at the California State University Los Angeles Community Vaccination Center.
The site was the first vaccination site to receive support from active-duty service members.
“I was excited,” said U.S. Army Spc. Noah Robertson of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a Combat Medic Assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st SBCT. “I’ve never been to Los Angeles. I’ve never gotten to do my job on such a large scale.”
Upon arrival to the site, Soldiers were tasked with finding the most efficient way of vaccinating people daily. Within 72 hours of being at the site, a standing operating procedure was put in place to effectively and safely move people throughout the site.
“We were the best choice for many reasons, but I’d say that because we’re ready to deploy and go at a moment's notice is why we were chosen for this mission,” said U.S. Army Spc. Daniel Nunez of Visalia, California, a Combat Medic Assigned to 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st SBCT.
Every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team was equipped to vaccinate approximately 6,000 people daily. At the time of their departure, Soldiers vaccinated over 300,000 people.
“We’re highly educated and we’re flexible,” said Robertson. “We can do whatever it is we need to do at any given time. Things change all the time and we’re always ready.”
Los Angeles community members had the option of having their appointment booked online or by phone. They could either be vaccinated in their own vehicles or at the walk-up site where vaccines were administered in a socially distanced parking garage.
“I’ve been able to talk to a lot of the patients that have come through,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jackson Goddard of Braintree, Massachusetts, a Medical Surgical Nurse assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Command. “They’re super appreciative that we’re here. It’s cool knowing you’re on a mission doing something good for the community.”
“What the military brings to this equation is discipline, organizational skills and effectiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
“This is the community that helped me become the person I am,” said Staff Sgt. Kirsten Pavao, a local California native from La Habra and a combat medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st SBCT. “To be able to give back to this community has been a humbling experience.”
The 1st Stryker Brigade completed their mission and returned to Fort Carson, Colorado, on April 13.
U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing continued, flexible Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.