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Air Force Surgeon General briefs Senate on COVID-19 response

  • Published
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs
Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force Surgeon General, testified Tuesday, April 20, at a hearing on the Defense Health Program before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Hogg’s testimony centered on the ways medical Airmen have played integral roles in the COVID-19 response. She highlighted how the Air Force Medical Service’s evolving aeromedical evacuation platforms rapidly adjusted amid the pandemic.

“We took our aeromedical evacuation capability into new territory when we were tasked to transport COVID-19 patients,” said Hogg. “Early in the pandemic, the rapid rise in cases drove the need to move more patients at once while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 to our aircrew members. We partnered with teams across the Department of Defense and civilian industry to develop a new infectious disease transport system called the Negatively Pressurized Conex.”

As of April 19, the Air Force Medical Service has completed 96 aeromedical evacuation missions and transported 366 COVID-19 patients. Air Force medics have also embedded into overrun civilian hospitals, providing additional support in COVID-19 epicenters. To help with COVID-19 vaccine administration, 1,000 Air Force medics have been deployed to 11 vaccination sites around the country.

Hogg also updated Subcommittee members on the AFMS’s multiple transformation activities, which have remained a priority despite the COVID-19 pandemic. She expressed the AFMS’s continued support of the successful transition of military treatment facilities to the Defense Health Agency, and highlighted the positive impact of the Air Force Medical Reform Model on force readiness.

Hogg concluded her oral statement, emphasizing the dedication of Air Force medics and the need to be responsive to future readiness requirements.

“This pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, but it also provided opportunities to accelerate change or lose, to become more agile, resilient and capable to face the unknown,” said Hogg. “This is what we train for. We remain ready for this fight. This mentality must remain in focus as we evolve to face the next major threat.”

This is Hogg’s final time testifying before this Subcommittee as she will be retiring after 37 years of active duty service.

The full hearing can be viewed here.