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927th ARW enters the fight to care for Americans

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida — With less than 24 hours’ notice, doctors and nurses assigned to the 927th Air Refueling Wing boarded a C-130 at MacDill AFB, Fla., April 5, headed for Joint Base McGuire-Lakehurst, N.J. where they will be a part of more than 120 medical professionals sent from Air Force Reserve Command to work with state and local authorities in the region as they combat COVID-19.

“I was sleeping yesterday afternoon when I received the phone call to report to MacDill in four hours,” said Lt. Joseph O’Brian, a clinical nurse from the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.  “I live a couple hours away, so I only had a couple hours to finish packing and say goodbye to my wife and child.”

As an emergency room nurse, O’Brian is used to the fast-paced lifesaving skills needed.

“This is what we train for,” said O’Brian. “I am ready to help fight this fight and get our country back to some scene of normalcy.”

After arriving at JBML, the medical professionals are headed to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. This temporary hospital constructed by the Army of Corp Engineers site is part of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility operating in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“As a civilian, I am a doctor at the [Tampa area] VA [hospital] and currently we are seeing most of our patients via telehealth, to be called to be on the frontlines is very exciting. Hopefully we can make a difference,” said Maj. Jennlee Glaiser.

Recently transitioned from active duty to the Air Force Reserve, Maj. Glaiser is new to the 927th Aerospace Medicine Squadron;  she in-processed during the March unit training assembly and was re-certified as a flight doctor just two weeks ago. 

 “This is an unprecedented time. From the time of the call and reporting for duty in less than 24 hours, this may be the fastest the wing has ever done,” said Col Doug Stouffer, 927 ARW Commander. “I am very proud of each and every one of you, take care of yourselves and each other. For those with family, we will reach out and ensure that they are ok and will assist with any needs they may have.”

Air Force Reserve Command had process in place to ensure if a medical professional was tasked to mobilize, it would not negatively affect the local community in which they work and live.  Unit commanders took care to ensure the balance between civilian responsibilities and military requirements were considered in Citizen Airmen deployments. 

The 927th has a legacy of helping on the homefront.  Most recently, the 927th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron conducted humanitarian operations supporting evacuations in response of Hurricane Maria in 2017.