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NEWS | April 14, 2020

Eldridge, Iowa, nurse practitioner mobilized in support of COVID-19

By Staff Sgt. Eric W. Jones Army Reserve Medical Command

While the majority of Americans are staying at home to protect the health of our nation, medical professionals of America’s Army Reserve are mobilizing to assist local communities in this time of national emergency.

"This was perhaps the easiest decision in my life. ... There can never be a better opportunity to serve the American people who are, in many cases, in desperate need of health care,” said Maj. Brehon Charles Allen Jr., an Army Reserve Soldier who is mobilizing in his role as a 66P nurse practitioner.

Allen, the officer in charge of the 7404th Troop Medical Clinic based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is employed by the Iowa City branch of Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System in his civilian capacity. He is one of more than 1,200 Army Reserve medical professionals that have been assembled into Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) as part of the Department of Defense response to COVID-19.

Specifically created to respond in this time of crisis, each UAMTF will augment the civilian medical community by delivering a wide range of critical medical capabilities, including medical providers, nurses, respiratory therapists and an infectious disease specialist. While UAMTFs do not perform surgeries on trauma patients, each 85-Soldier team is capable of supporting 250 low-acuity patients.

Allen initially joined the military to assist with his college expenses.

"I joined the Army Reserve and enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I earned my initial bachelor's degree in psychology. I never forgot how the Army helped me. Since then I have always held a special place in my heart for the Army and want to give back to an organization that has benefited myself and my family. It's a duty," commented Allen.

A husband and father of three, Allen shared that although his family is concerned for his own health, they recognize that his Army work has to be done. Allen has mobilized in the past, serving as a nurse case manager with a Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU) at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Allen attended nurse practitioner school while serving the returning Soldiers in the CBWTU.

"I grew as a Soldier, a professional and an American serving the men and women who returned from conflicts abroad and assisted them entering the next stage of their life. This is the time I decided to become a nurse practitioner. I wanted to do more for Soldiers. Do more than what an RN can do," Allen said.