NEWS | April 28, 2020

Joint Task Force-Logistics team helps in Alaska National Guard response to COVID-19

By Spc. Grace Nechanicky Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

The Alaska National Guard Joint Task Force-Logistics team is supporting three mission assignments for the State Emergency Operations Center and is continuing a coordinated response to assist the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team is in charge of sourcing and disseminating equipment and available personnel internally to support entities within the Alaska National Guard, and externally to support community organizations that have requested assistance. They are readily available to provide resources and follow proper procedures for a variety of community requests.

The logistics team includes 31 personnel who were put on state active duty orders specifically to assist with COVID-19 response efforts.

“What I do is look at the personnel we have to work with, and try to maximize the efficiency of those individuals,” said Lt. Col. Richard Mohammadi, commander of the JTF-Logistics team.

They currently have a team assigned to support the Food Bank of Alaska by providing traffic control operations to ensure an expedient food distribution site in East Anchorage. They also have a team who is screening personnel at entry control points at the Alaska National Guard armory to ensure health mandates are being followed properly. They are currently sourcing a team to begin May 1 to support harbor operations in Kodiak.

“The food bank piece is going very well,” said Mohammadi, “we’ve got 20 people in support of that operation, and when they’re not working out there, we have them working with other tasks to maximize their time.”

For distribution of vehicle resources, they have a staging area for convoy briefs, safety briefs and making sure that everything is notated properly. They coordinated with the Defense Movement Coordinator to ensure that the proper paperwork is completed for convoys if they became necessary to support a mission assignment.

“We’re tracking vehicles with the Army Guard and Air Guard that are all mission capable and can be used in quick time if need be,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Pillittier, senior enlisted leader for the JTF-Logistics team.
The logistics team is helping to staff other sections in the JTF as well.

“We transferred four of our personnel to TF-Security,” said Mohammadi, “This enabled them to start their activities, and then as the missions develop, we can assign more people as necessary.”

JTF-Logistics also transferred personnel to the public affairs team to ensure effective internal and external communications.

They have fulfilled four requests for assistance from the SEOC so far, including taking inventory, organizing and distributing supplies for the Department of Health and Social Services warehouse in Anchorage, providing cots to two communities for alternate homeless shelter sites, and assisting airport passengers with signing the governor’s declaration to self-quarantine. These tasks have brought new challenges for logistical planning due to the unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic.

“From the very beginning we started looking into ‘what ifs’ and possibilities, and just making sure that we had our bases covered that way,” said Pillittier.

“This is a historic occasion, and I’ve got a great staff that works well and is able to respond and be flexible with the needs of the day,” said Mohammadi, “Overall, I think we are well-prepared, and as things come up we will continue to handle them as efficiently as we have been so far.”