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439th AES joins fight against COVID-19

U.S. Air Force Col. Craig Peters, 439th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to members of the 439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts on April 17, 2020. The 439th AES mobilized to support COVID-19 relief efforts around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Siana Rosado)

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

A group of Reserve Citizen Airmen from Westover’s 439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron recently deployed in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.

The Airmen will be based out of the COVID-19 aeromedical evacuation hub established at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. They will fly aeromedical evacuation, transportation isolation system, and critical care missions around the country and worldwide as needed. Their mission is to not only take care of Airmen and their families, but all Americans during this difficult time.

“As many Americans and other countries are struggling through this quarantine, I feel honored to be able to contribute with my aeromedical evacuation family to help in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tech Sgt. Ashleigh Leete, 439th AES aeromedical evacuation technician.

Leete and the nearly 100 other Air Force Reserve aeromedical evacuation Airmen deployed in support of COVID-19 relief will serve on teams made up of flight nurses, aeromedical evacuation technicians, physicians and support personnel. These teams can operate on multiple U.S. Air Force aircraft including the C-5M Super Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130H/J, KC-135R, and the KC-10 Extender.

“The 439th AES has come together in knowing there will be challenges in this pandemic and we are happy to serve with some of the greatest AES units by our side,” Leete said. “Together we have become more resilient, flexible and open minded to our mission moving forward.” 

Westover also deployed more than 10 Airmen assigned to the 439th Aerospace Medical Squadron and the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron to New York in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. In total, more than 770 Reserve Citizen Airmen have answered the call in the fight against COVID-19.