CAMP ATTERBURY, IND. – Members of the Virginia Air National Guard 192nd Medical Group are providing daily symptom and temperature screenings for all on-site participants of Bold Quest 20.2, a U.S. Joint Staff sponsored capability demonstration on Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
The Bold Quest series of capability demonstrations and assessments focus on the interoperability of the U.S. with its partner nations. Normally it would involve several military units from as many as 21 countries coming together to participate. This year, however, only the U.S. Services and agencies will be on-site while six partner nations join remotely. The goal of the medical staff at Camp Atterbury is to prevent and respond to any outbreak of COVID-19.
“We did a lot of planning prior to the event,” said Air National Guard Capt. Layla Rifai, a physician assistant with the 192nd Air Medical Group. “We set up a process for daily screenings and a COVID-19 questionnaire. We have done a table-top exercise that has let us develop some innovative standard operating procedures, pre-planned responses and a participant information sheet that will help guide us through this exercise as well as future exercises,” says Rifai.
The team also has the support and medical guidance of Air Force Dr. Col. Frank Yang, State Flight Surgeon with the Virginia Air National Guard.
“We have been in close contact with our chief medical advisor, Col. Yang,” says Capt. Alena Thomas, a physician assistant with the Virginia Air National Guard. “He formulated a force health protection plan, and we have had teleconferences with him so we can all get on the same page about the measures we need to take,” said Thomas.
With Captains Rifai and Thomas, the medical staff is also supported on-site by TSgt. Alexandria Harville, an aerospace medical technician, and Capt. David Geiger, a nurse practitioner, who is supporting remotely. The team members say that they have been welcomed by the Bold Quest participants and they have been supportive and cooperative.
“We do walk-throughs multiple times a day to make sure everyone is wearing their mask,” says Rifai. “We are working together as a team. It is really amazing to see everyone come together at all levels to make us all safe. Our mission is to have everybody come healthy, stay healthy, leave healthy and not spread the COVID-19 contagion.”
Bold Quest’s aim is to improve interoperability and information sharing across a range of coalition warfighting capabilities. The event runs through Nov. 4.