JOINT BASE MCGUIRE DIX LAKEHURST, N.J. –
Spc. Randall Mulkins, a 68W, Combat Medic, was part of UAMTF 804-2 working with FEMA supporting COVID-19 support at the Javtis Center. Now, at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J., Mulkins looks back at service in Covid-19 response as part of the whole-of-nation effort.
Supporting this mission was especially meaningful for Mulkins, saying. “I was born and raised in Patterson, N.Y., a small town north of New York City where a lot of residents commute to the city for work. I have friends back home who work in the FDNY, NYPD and other public services within the city.”
Mulkins was instilled with a desire to help and support. His job with the task force was to support the providers and allow them to do their job by providing the best possible care, so as a team, they could alleviate the stress on the healthcare system. “I was raised with a strong belief in helping others whenever and however I can. I was a 3rd generation member of my local volunteer fire department and became a certified first responder and a NY state certified firefighter at 16 and joined the Army at 17,” said Mulkins.
Mulkins family is extremely supportive of his service, even if some of them were nervous about the situation. “Being from a community so close to NYC my local news is constantly reporting on the situation which has my mother and other family members constantly watching for any updates because they know I am here working. My father was an infantryman and my brother is currently serving in the Army Reserve as a 25C after transitioning from active duty like myself so they are very understanding and supportive of my service,” said Mulkins.
Looking forward, this support confirms Mulkins dedication to service. “I will continue my education at Mount Saint Mary College where I attend full time utilizing my post 9/11 GI bill benefits. I will return to volunteering my time to the Patterson Fire Department. I also volunteer as a member of the Putnam County Technical Rescue Team in my home county in West Hartford, Conn.,” said Mulkins.
Mulkins said, "To other medical providers, I would extend my gratitude and sympathy. I am proud to be a healthcare worker with them. It has been difficult and stressful for many of them and they are handling it like champions. Seeing how the nurses and other providers are dealing with this motivates me even more to finish my degree and join them. I am proud to have been part of a mission that remains in the capable hands of state and local authorities."
Currently, the US military is returning some medical support in various regions back to their respective home station at the request of local and federal partners. Looking back on his time at the Javits Center, “After the mission, I've gained perspective on how important the mission truly was. For the Army Reserve it displayed the ability to deploy a brand new force with new capabilities in such a short period of time. With that flexibility it shows we are ready for almost any mission in the future.”