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DoD activates Fifteenth Air Force to expedite COVID-19 vaccine distribution

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley
  • Fifteenth Air Force
Department of Defense members assembled Feb. 24 in Florida to provide flexible support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.

Service members have temporarily been assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, under U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, U.S. Army North.

Fifteenth Air Force will work with FEMA in a state-run, federally-supported community vaccination center to enable rapid delivery of the vaccine throughout the country, and expedite the vaccination process. The military’s role in supporting vaccination sites will increase the amount of doses administered by thousands per day, helping to ensure that every American who wants a vaccine will receive one.

“As the Air Force’s only standing Joint Task Force-capable Headquarters, Fifteenth Air Force provides our Combatant Commanders with an essential operational command and control capability,” said Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, Fifteenth AF commander. “We supported the Joint Forces Land Component Commander in the initial DoD COVID response back in March 2020 and we remain ready to support the command and control of vaccination teams in our FEMA assigned regions.”

 “Since I arrived at Fifteenth Air Force, I have been impressed with the level of training this team does to stay ready,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Boutwell, Fifteenth AF deputy commander. “I look forward to working with our federal and state partners during this whole-of-government effort to vaccinate Florida residents.”

To date, COVID has claimed more American lives than those lost during WWII, and the pandemic represents an ongoing threat to the U.S. The DoD remains committed to breaking the cycle of transmission as it provides support to approved FEMA requests.

USNORTHCOM and ARNORTH are ready and capable of meeting homeland defense requirements and answering the call for military support for COVID. Moreover, the DoD will continue to prioritize protecting service members, civilian employees, and families around the globe; safeguarding our national security capabilities; and supporting the whole-of-government response to the pandemic.