VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Local Sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 left Virginia Beach on Feb. 19 to support the state-run, federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination efforts on the East Coast.
In all, 48 MDSU personnel will provide support to the vaccination teams in New York.
“This is truly a whole-of-government effort as we are working hand-in-hand with federal, state and local agencies to administer COVID vaccinations,” said Cmdr. Trevor Ritland, commanding officer of MDSU 2. “My team is ready to fulfill the critical role in providing vaccinations for every American who wishes to receive one.”
In support of the whole-of-government effort, the Navy is providing a 139-person team, including the 48 Sailors from MDSU 2, to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the national vaccination effort at a Community Vaccination Center in New York. The teams are made up of approximately 65% Navy health care professionals and approximately 35% support staff. The non-clinical support portion will be sourced primarily from MDSU 2 and will serve as the command element providing administrative, logistics and communications support to the team.
News 3 reporter Erin Miller spoke to CDR Pandora Liptrot, the commander of the Navy Nurse Corps, and found out why these local Sailors were chosen to help with the government response to the pandemic.
"This pandemic represents a serious threat to everyone in the United States, so speeding up vaccinations for everyone is a very important mission. I'm glad to be a small part of such a large vaccination effort in this country. This is definitely a whole government response for us to be up here in support of this mission," said CDR. Liptrot.
MDSU is part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force (NECF), a force that is postured to anticipate and rapidly respond to the changing security environment. NECF’s capabilities as a whole are greater than the sum of its individual parts and are scalable to deal with problems of varied complexity.
While NECF is designed to ensure the integrated naval force continues to dominate on the high seas and across the littorals in an era of Great Power Competition, it is also capable of facilitating the distribution of essential services and vaccines to those in need . The NECF is manned, trained and equipped to clear, secure, build, and protect critical assets and infrastructure across the full spectrum of military operations or while conducting Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) operations.
The NECF includes Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Mobile Diving and Salvage, Naval Construction Force (NCF), Maritime Expeditionary Security Force (MESF), Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command (NEIC), Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC) and the Expeditionary Warfare Development Center (EXWDC).