Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Guard has answered the call to support our country during a national emergency. Most recently, governors across the U.S. called for the guard to come to the aid of hospitals that are overloaded with patients. From assisting with COVID-19 testing to supporting the vaccination process, the health care system in America can use all the help it can get.

As with most national crises, the National Guard offers aid in the most dire of situations, and this is no exception. Here is a shortlist of where the guard has taken some of the weight off the overwhelmed health care workers.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.


According to CNN, Gov. Andy Beshear said at a recent news conference that about 25 of Kentucky's regional hospitals were not only "at a critical staffing shortage stage", but were seeing an influx in patients. In response, the National Guard, consisting of five National Guard teams, were deployed starting on Sept. 1. In all, about one-third of the state's ICU beds are currently occupied by people who are suffering serious symptoms related to COVID-19, according to HHS Protect Public Data Hub.

In Kentucky, the guard members are preparing for their new role in hospitals by learning how to correctly wear personal protective equipment in order to shield themselves from becoming infected in the line of duty, according to Lexington news source the Herald Leader.

At The Medical Center at Bowling Green, guardsmen allowed hospital employees to be reallocated or afforded a much needed break. "In food services, the Soldiers and staff seemed like they have worked together for years," said Joseph Knight, food services manager at The Medical Center. "The teamwork between them has been incredible to watch," he added.


Oregon has seen increasing numbers of patients who require specialized medical attention, and, similar to many other states, faces staffing shortages. Gov. Kate Brown deployed 1,500 National Guard members to help health care providers with testing, vaccinations and other hospital operations, like admitting patients and cleaning rooms. 

With only 7% of ICU beds available statewide, Oregon is not only having trouble keeping hospitals staffed, but quickly running out of room. This means that, sometimes, hospitals have to put two patients in one ICU room. The National Guard's aid is absolutely necessary in these hospitals that are over capacity.


While Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has previously deployed 105 National Guard soldiers as part of a COVID response team; he called for an additional 85 soldiers to aid healthcare workers in the state. Kemp made it clear that there is room for 2,500 more to be deployed if the need arises.

The Georgia health care system is buckling under the weight of not having enough staff combined with over half the ICU beds that are taken by COVID-19 patients, the National Guard's help is greatly appreciated. National Guard 2nd Lt. Noah Wilson told local news station News 4 JAX that the response team has eight medics who are trained medics and that they will be able to assist nurses directly. 


The Illinois National Guard has joined forces with a Polish medical team to fight COVID-19 in Chicago. The teams work together in critical care units and other spaces that have been converted into makeshift hospitals, similar to how McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago once was.

The National Guard's motto of "always ready, always there" has continued to be proven true, especially during these times of desperation and crisis.