In Honor of Armed Forces Day, Here Is How Each Military Branch Is Operating During COVID-19

By Danielle DeSimone

When celebrating Armed Forces Day, it’s important to not only acknowledge past victories and accomplishments of our military forces, but also their current efforts to maintain liberty and peace all around the world.

Celebrate each branch of the U.S. military by learning about their current operations to serve our nation – and how they’ve pivoted to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic:

Army

Photo credit U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel

A member of the Washington National Guard Homeland Response Force guides a driver through a COVID-19 Community Based Test Site in Washington state.

The U.S. Army has been serving the people of the United States before there even was a United States. It is the Army that fought against the British and established our nation’s independence, and it is that same Army that protects our country today.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has required flexibility in operations, the Army has continued with its missions overseas, serving on the front lines regardless of the challenges. This has included everything from training with our allies to counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East.

Simultaneously, the Army has played a significant role in the Department of Defense’s response to coronavirus here at home – especially in its activation and deployment of the National Guard. Members of the National Guard have stepped up to support their local communities. This includes sanitizing nursing homes, distributing groceries from food banks, manning COVID-19 test sites and supporting the civilian hospital workforce. These actions have gone a long way in supporting the American people during this time and demonstrating that the U.S. military is a force for good both at home and abroad.

Photo credit Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Hupp

The USNS Comfort hospital ship makes its way up the Hudson River and enters New York City.

As the largest navy in the entire world, the U.S. Navy is a force to be reckoned with. This military branch has been maintaining the freedom of the seas since 1775 and today, it is crucial in the defense strategy of our nation and others around the world.

Like all military branches, the Navy has had to adjust its operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of its fleet and personnel. However, Navy ships are still in full force. In fact, six of its aircraft carriers are currently out at sea, carrying out essential missions.

While the Navy has faced its own challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, the branch has not only persevered, but also stepped up to help American citizens. Naval hospital ships such as the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy were sent to New York City and Los Angeles to provide medical support to some of the hardest-hit regions of the U.S. Meanwhile, the Navy has also created a deployable biocontainment system to protect medical professionals processing COVID-19 testing kits.

Air Force

Photo credit Tech. Sgt. Amy Lovgren

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Operation Support Squadron’s aircrew flight equipment shop make masks.

As the aerial warfare branch of the United States military, the U.S. Air Force’s domain is over the air, space and cyberspace. The Air Force has continued to aim high in these fields since its official establishment in 1947, and today, that tradition of excellence remains the same.

Despite COVID-19, the U.S. Air Force is still carrying out essential missions. Some airmen are hard at work at ensuring the safety of skies over the U.S., while others are deployed on missions overseas. Some have even been exploring the stars, as the newly-founded U.S. Space Force is already set to break records with back-to-back rocket launches.

While these missions on the front lines remain essential, airmen are also pivoting to the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The Air Force has delivered crucial swab tests from Italy to the U.S., as well as begun production of millions of N95 masks for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, activated Air National Guard units have run test sites in Iowa, while other airmen are 3D printing face shields for their local communities.

Marine Corps

Photo credit U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alison Dostie

A U.S. Marine MV-22B Osprey prepares to land at the helicopter landing zone at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

As the Navy’s “force-in-readiness,” the U.S. Marine Corps is unique in its ability to respond quickly to almost any situation. Today, the Marine Corps continues to serve as the tip of the spear in operations around the world, from counterterrorism efforts in Africa to air operations in Asia.

The Marines have also supported Americans in this time of need. Marines and sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force deployed to Massachusetts to support FEMA in delivering supplies and personnel wherever needed. Marines in New York City put their training to good use to help save urgent-care COVID-19 patients headed for the hospital ship USNS Comfort.

Coast Guard

Photo credit DVIDS/Army Specialist David Resnick

U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team personnel train on a rigid-hull inflatable boat from the Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt in the Gulf of Oman.

As the only military branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard is vital in maintaining the safety of our nation’s coastlines and waterways. Today, the Coast Guard conducts counter-drug trafficking missions, enforces fishing and regional security regulations and performs regular search-and-rescue operations.

Coasties have continued to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic not only by rescuing people from sinking ships, but also by sewing masks for their local healthcare workers and donating plasma after they have recovered from COVID-19.

More Stories Like This

  • When is Armed Forces Day?

    Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May, and it is the proper day to honor the men and women currently serving. Find out more about this special day, and what you can do to celebrate.

  • What is Military Appreciation Month?

    Military Appreciation Month takes place every year throughout the entire month of May. Although the entire month is designated to honoring past and present military members and their families, there are several military holidays sprinkled throughout Military Appreciation Month itself.

  • How is the U.S. Military Equipped to Fight Diseases Like Coronavirus?

    It’s no secret that the U.S. military is the largest fighting force in the world. But many civilians might not realize that thousands of service members are highly trained in exactly the types of skills needed to provide humanitarian aid during a major biological threat, like the coronavirus pandemic.

As the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving, the USO has pivoted resources across the entire global enterprise in an approach that helps care for military members and their families.

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