By Army Col. Meritt Phillips, Army Reserve Medical Command
Army Spc. Duncan Crow joined the Army just over a year ago and had the opportunity to use his Army and civilian medical skills during a recent mobilization that marks a first in Army Reserve history.
A December 2019 graduate of Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Crowe completed advanced individual training at Joint Base San Antonio in April, qualifying him as a combat medic. Three months later, he answered the nation’s call and mobilized with an Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force (UAMTF).
Crow is one of more than 1,000 skilled Army Reserve medical soldiers mobilized since March to provide Department of Defense (DoD) support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically created to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, UAMTFs are 85-person teams consisting of doctors, nurses, combat medics, respiratory therapists and ancillary personnel who expand the capacity of care that medical facilities can offer.
Crow served with UAMTF-7452, assigned to assist DHR Health – a hospital in Edinburg, Texas.
“The mission of the UAMTF was to assist and serve the people of Texas by augmenting the staff of the intensive care and COVID-19 units. My personal mission was to make everyone’s day a little easier,” Crow said.
Unlike some of his UAMTF members, Crow had not worked in a COVID-19 environment prior to arriving in Texas, but that didn’t limit him. “I think it is important for everyone to maintain a warrior’s attitude in everything we do, and not give up until you are satisfied with what you have accomplished,” Crow said.
“It was stressful and tiring some days, but there was no better reward than being able to see some of the positive impacts we had on people’s lives.”
Crow earned his basic emergency medical technician certification from the University of South Alabama in Mobile and joined the Army Reserve to assist with his future education goals, which include an interest in psychology and a career as a physician assistant.
“I joined the Army Reserve as a way to continue college and to still serve my country,” Crow said.
Originally a member of the 7375th Blood Detachment unit based in Mobile, Alabama, Crow volunteered for the UAMTF mission.
“I can’t say I’m more unique than anyone else on the task force that volunteered to serve the country in this manner. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. My family is extraordinarily proud of me and I could not do anything without their support,” Crow continued.
In total, U.S. Northern Command – through U.S. Army North – assigned approximately 590 military medical and support personnel from the Army and Navy in support of FEMA in Texas.
As Crow returned to Alabama, his mission complete, he summed up his experience.
“It was awesome to be surrounded by such a great group of motivated individuals, I’ve learned more than I ever could have imagined,” Crow said.
“It feels good to know that at least a few people have been helped or positively impacted by my presence.”
This article was originally published on defense.gov. It has been edited for USO.org.
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