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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2020

Fort Bragg-based Army Reserve Medical Command UAMTF supports federal response to COVID-19 pandemic

By Lt. Col. Meritt Phillips Army Reserve Medical Command

Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force-7458 is the second Army Reserve Medical Command unit that has mobilized to Texas as part of the Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency response to COVID-19.

“The 7458th is prepared to provide skilled medical support to community medical facilities that the Federal Management Agency has identified for assistance,” stated Maj. Gen. Jonathon Woodson, commander of the Army Reserve Medical Command, based in Pinellas Park, Fla. “Army Reserve medical providers bring significant medical experience from their military practice and their civilian employment."

"The team will expand the capability of medical systems to care for all patients, to include COVID-19 positive patients, said Woodson. “These medical Soldiers are battle-tested and proud to serve in this capacity.”

The Fort Bragg, N.C.,-based unit is part of the Department of Defense Support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency response to COVID-19. U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, is overseeing the military operation in support of federal efforts and the state.

The 85-member task force has divided their efforts in Texas between Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen and Harlingen Medical Center.

Specifically created to respond in times of crisis, the 85-Soldier teams will augment the civilian medical community by delivering a wide range of critical medical capability, including medical providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, an infectious disease specialist and behavior health professionals.

Col. John Lee, a psychiatric mental health nurse from Lebanon, Ind., is the Commander of UAMTF-7458.

“As commander, my job is to ensure the team can do their job, that they have the equipment they need, and that we keep them all safe,” Lee stated.

Lee also shared some perspective that he provided to his team.

“When you do something that a lot of people don't get to do, you need to live in the moment, enjoy it, and enjoy all the experiences both good and bad," he said. "This is an abnormal situation, and hopefully we take the positive from it, even if we do see or experience negative things."

Maj. Daniel Wong, a family nurse practitioner from Greenville, S.C., served with a UMATF in New Jersey earlier this year and volunteered to mobilize a second time when his skills were in demand.

“When I signed on the line 11 years ago for love of God and country, I knew that I would have to do what is needed," shared Wong, who is originally from Singapore. “I joined the Army the same month that I received my citizenship, and the Army put me through school.”

Sgt. Michael Grober, a licensed practical nurse from Augusta, Ga., shared his mindset on the mobilization and his desire to do more.

“I have been preparing and hoping to contribute to this situation since it became a national concern because this is what we do, this is what we were trained for,” said Grober, who is 59 years old. "This is a way to contribute before I retire.”

For two members of the team, this mobilization is a family effort.

Maj. Lynn Del Rosario, a family nurse practitioner from Jacksonville, Fla., is serving with her brother, Sgt. Maj. Glenn Del Rosario, a respiratory specialist, who volunteered for the mission.

The siblings are part of a family legacy of service.

“This is my first mobilization with my brother Glenn,” shared Lynn, whose parents are registered nurses. “Our parents worry about us being exposed but they know we both have to come here.”

“One of the best milestones in my Army Reserve career was deploying with my younger brother Ryan during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Glenn. “I now look forward to serving with my sister. She will represent our command and our family proudly with her skills and professionalism as a nurse practitioner.”

Lt. Col Charles Crusha, a registered nurse from Corning, N.Y., voiced his thoughts on supporting the relief efforts after serving 35 years in the military.

“We all want to do a great job and leave wherever we serve better than when we found it.”