McConville: Army ‘Committed’ to Defeating COVID-19

McConville: Army ‘Committed’ to Defeating COVID-19

soldier giving vaccine
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Laura Bauer

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army remains committed to helping defeat the virus, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said.

“Right now, we have this domestic enemy, this invisible enemy called COVID,” he said. “When you look at the casualties that our country has taken, well in excess of what we took in World War II, from where I sit, we all should do what we can to defeat this virus.”

In the past year, soldiers from all three components have responded in communities across the country, helping to distribute food, run testing sites, supplement medical staffs at civilian hospitals and more. Army scientists have continued to work on vaccine development and therapeutics.

“You name it, we’ve been there,” McConville said.

Now, the Army and the other services are being called to help administer vaccines at Federal Emergency Management Agency sites across the country. First up was a 222-soldier team from Fort Carson, Colorado, that deployed to California. Another team, this one at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is standing by, McConville said on Feb. 17 during a webinar hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

In addition, about 25,000 Army National Guard soldiers are mobilized across the country, as are Army Reserve troops, he said.

“The Army is committed to making this happen,” McConville said. “Could it affect readiness? Sure … but we’ve got to defeat this enemy.”

Calling on soldiers’ help is the right thing to do, he added. “The sooner we can defeat this, the better off we’ll be, and we can get on to the other things,” he said. “Right now, we’re comfortable with the decision for us to get after this.”