FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) — More than 120 airmen and women returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base after they spent the past two months on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic assisting FEMA in Detroit administering vaccines.
“I think having a deployment during a pandemic definitely has its challenges,” said Commander 88th Medical Group Col. Christian Lyons.
Wright Patterson’s 88th Medical Group faced many health challenges during their two month deployment in Michigan, including how to bus and house over 120 airmen. However, they attribute their safety to the vaccines.
“The good thing is most of our people were already vaccinated so that mitigated the amount of risk,” said Col. Lyons.
The team administered more than 244,000 doses in Detroit during a period when Michigan was experiencing their third surge of COVID-19 cases. Major Erica Eyer, a mother of three, said nothing feels better than a hug from your children after two months away. She said it was time well spent.
“It feels really good, I’ve always wanted to feel a part of the mission and feel like we’re doing something and what better way to do something than in our own country,” said Major Eyer.
Airmen and women with boots on the ground said they helped halt the spread of the virus, while also changing lives for the better.
“They don’t know the military so much, they don’t have a lot of military presence there and so at first they thought we were all serious business and angry people, but they warmed up to us and turned out to be a wonderful experience,” said Technical Sgt. Kasey Davidson. “Families would come in and they would be crying because they got their vaccination.”
Governor Mike DeWine addressed the Michigan surge affecting Ohio many times. However, the airmen and women of the 88th said they are glad to be helping the community and stop the spread in Michigan.