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sm200617-Z-VN142-1074Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau; Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general; and other senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders assisting with the state's COVID-19 response efforts discuss specimen collection with Dane County health officials at a specimen collection site in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020. During his visit, Lengyel also talked with Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen facilitating the specimen collection site about the importance of serving the communities they are from. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

MADISON, Wis. — The National Guard’s top officer and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Madison June 7 to thank Wisconsin National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Citizen Airmen for their efforts battling COVID-19.

Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, talked with Wisconsin National Guard members at a Guard-run COVID-19 specimen collection site at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center and at Truax Field, home of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing.

sm200617-Z-VN142-1094Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, gives a coin to Pfc Nicole Arberolos at a specimen collection site in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020. Lengyel presented coins to several Wisconsin National Guard troops in recognition of their outstanding work facilitating the specimen collection site as part of the state's COVID-19 response efforts. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

“It’s just a pleasure to see the professional men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard doing testing, and sanitation of facilities around the state,” Lengyel said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

While visiting the Alliant Energy Center site, Lengyel observed Wisconsin National Guard personnel serving their local community by facilitating one of the state’s largest COVID-19 community-based testing sites. Soldiers and Airmen directed traffic, verified personal information, and safely collected COVID-19 specimens to be sent to a lab for testing.

sm200617-Z-VN142-1179Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, talks to Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during a visit to a specimen collection site in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020. Lengyel spoke about the importance of serving the community you are from. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

During his visit, Lengyel coined Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chad Kohlmann, Staff Sgt. Jordan Miller, Staff Sgt. Michael Campagna, Sgt. Luis Acost, and Pfc Nicole Arberolo for their outstanding work. Lengyel thanked each individual for acknowledging the importance of the mission.

sm200617-Z-VN142-1203Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, talks to Lt. Col. Paul Felician, commander of the 641st Troop Command Battalion, during a visit to a specimen collection site in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020. Lengyel and Felician spoke about the Wisconsin National Guard’s role in COVID-19 specimen collection while observing Soldiers and Airmen facilitating the site. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

Col. John Morgen, commander of Joint Task Force 64 and the officer-in-charge of the Guard’s COVID-19 specimen collection efforts, believes the Alliant Center site plays an important role in positively impacting the community.

sm200617-Z-IW912-1712Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, talks to Wisconsin National Guard Airmen at the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020. The 115th Fighter Wing has supported the Wisconsin National Guard’s COVID-19 response with medical, logistical and mortuary affairs support since mid March. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Capt. Leslie Westmont

“During this historic period, there is a lot of anxiety and a lot of concern,” Morgen said. “We’re offering a service that helps someone who believes they might have COVID-19 the opportunity to immediately get tested and then get feedback in a timely manner. I think this a tremendous asset not just to address people's concerns, but also a crucial piece in the strategy to bring us back to some sense of normalcy.”

sm200617-Z-IW912-1779Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, thanks a Wisconsin National Guard Airmen at the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., June 17, 2020 for her efforts during the state’s COVID-19 response. The 115th Fighter Wing has supported the Wisconsin National Guard’s COVID-19 response with medical, logistical and mortuary affairs support since mid March. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Capt. Leslie Westmont

Since May 11, the Wisconsin National Guard has collected more than 21,000 specimens at the Alliant Center COVID-19 testing.

Lengyel also visited the nearby 115th Fighter Wing where he toured facilities and thanked a group of about 50 Citizen Airmen for all their hard work and dedication to the state of Wisconsin. The 115th through providing medical, logistical, planning and mortuary affairs support has been one of the state’s key units supporting the Guard’s COVID-19 efforts.

“I just want to say thanks to the great men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard,” said Lengyel. “They’re doing what they’re doing every single day to help keep Wisconsin safe.”

Capt. Leslie Westmont of the 115th Fighter Wing contributed to this report.

 


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