1 On March 17, after the second confirmed Hoosier death from COVID-19, Gov. Eric Holcomb activated the Indiana National Guard to “address and assist in this public health emergency.” How many of the 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment in Fort Wayne have been affected by the order?
Indiana National Guard soldiers with the 1-293 Infantry, the Nightfighters, have answered the call from the governor and the adjutant general providing up to 130 soldiers. These soldiers have been supporting the local area since the initial call-up. All state active-duty missions, past, present and future, are called up for a specific project.
2 What has the local 1-293 Infantry been assigned to do?
Our soldiers have been supporting Community Harvest Food Bank in Fort Wayne by packaging food boxes and distributing food at various locations across nine counties in northeastern Indiana. Since the beginning of April, we have packaged almost 29,000 boxes of food and fed over 35,000 families. ... In addition, there are 1-293 Infantry soldiers supporting site security operations at Pendleton Correctional Facility, who have been on mission since the beginning of April as well. Lastly, 1-293 Infantry soldiers supported two Optum testing sites on behalf of the Indiana State Department of Health at the Huntington and Angola armories. The state has since relocated these two testing sites but we continue to stand ready in the event further testing site support is needed.
3 Have you received any assignments related to protests or gatherings – locally, statewide or nationally – following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis?
Yes, Indiana National Guard soldiers with the 1-293 Infantry recently deployed to our nation's capital, supporting local and federal law enforcement agencies while citizens exercised their First Amendment right to peacefully protest.
4 Can you describe what it is like to be serving your local community in time of an emergency?
This is one of the greatest reasons we join the National Guard – to support and serve within our local communities. There are two missions the National Guard has: state and federal. While most people understand the federal missions we support abroad, some are unaware that Gov. Holcomb can activate the National Guard to support state missions such as response to natural disasters and, now, COVID-19. Our soldiers have answered the call to duty for this state mission and have done an outstanding job supporting the communities in which they live, Hoosiers and all citizens.
5 Have any of the 1-293 Infantry tested positive for COVID-19? How are you minimizing the risks of exposure?
We are minimizing the risk of exposure by following the guidance established by the CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health. The Indiana National Guard committed to teleworking where capable and adjusted to digital training periods for traditional service members versus in-person training. We are doing our part to maintain social distancing and wear masks when social distancing is not feasible based on mission requirements.