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NEWS | April 16, 2020

63rd Theater Aviation Brigade Supports COVID-19 Drive Thru Testing Site

By 1st Lt. Sean Lough, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade

For the first time in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s history, the Kentucky Army National Guard is collaborating with both the public and private sector to establish a Drive Thru Testing Site (DTTS) at Franklin County Fairgrounds in Frankfort, Ky. The purpose of the DTTS is to facilitate rapid and large-scale COVID-19 screenings for at-risk individuals within our community.

The Soldiers of 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade are tasked to carry out this mission and they come from the same communities. They are Kentuckians, neighbors, teachers, co-workers, college students and pilots who fly for the airlines we use for travel. Each of these Soldiers volunteered and are sacrificing time away from their families to help fight this pandemic. While they may not currently be serving in their traditional military occupational specialty roles as aviation mechanics, flight operation specialists, human resource specialists, logistics specialist or pilots, they have adjusted to serve the greater purpose: to serve citizens of the Commonwealth.

The 63rd TAB is no stranger to large-scale emergencies and disasters either. In recent years, we’ve responded to Hurricane Florence, Dorian, Irma, Michael, and Harvey. When activated for National Guard Support to Civil Authorities (NGSCA) operations, the unit has been a reliable partner providing support within the continental U.S and to U.S. territories.

Beginning in June of this year, the 63rd TAB has been sourced to provide aviation planners to the two-star Task Force 76 Headquarters for DoD’s C2CRE-A. This is a short-notice aviation oversight response force in the event there’s an incident in North America. This is a crucial capability that would be leveraged if a large scale catastrophic event were to occur.

Since 2006, the 63rd TAB was assigned as the Aviation Theater Enabler to US Army North (USARNORTH) for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). In 2009, we were assigned as the Task Force Aviation Headquarters for the CBRN Consequence Management Response Force (CCMRF) under Joint Task Force – Civil Support (JTF-CS). In 2012, we transitioned to be the Task Force Aviation Headquarters for Command and Control CBRN Response Enterprise – Bravo (C2CRE-B).

When Soldiers from the brigade are not responding to real world emergencies or deployed to Southwest Asia, we train year ‘round to operate effectively in a variety of difficult environments to meet our both our state and country’s needs. We are conducting monthly unit level drills and participate in large CBRN exercises that supports the DSCA mission.

This unit remains prepared to answer the call of our President and Governor; and we’re proving it right now. Every Kentuckian across the Commonwealth should know the Soldiers of 63rd TAB stand ready because every Soldier regardless of rank, plays an integral role ensuring we remain at a high state of readiness. Rest assured, when there is crisis and lives at risk, the 63rd TAB remains ready to support our local and state partners. We’re ready to respond to see the mission through and prepared to support any future assistance the Commonwealth may require.

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