By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | May 16, 2020
Today, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, announced the unexpected passing of Lt. Col. Chris Nasser, the Mission Support Group commander at the 167th Airlift Wing.
Governor Jim Justice extended his condolences to the family during today’s press briefing and honored Nasser for his service to the State of West Virginia.
Nasser served more than 30 years in the West Virginia Air National Guard and was beloved by his wife, children, extended family, friends and unit members.
“Our most important job in the coming days and weeks will be to take care of Chris’s family during this difficult time,” said Hoyer. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to them and are so grateful for the many years that they shared Chris’s passion, expertise and leadership with us in the West Virginia National Guard. He will be greatly missed by all of us.”
The West Virginia National Guard continues to sustain a wide array of missions to support pandemic response efforts across the state.
“At the direction of the Governor and in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the county health departments, our personnel are actively supporting COVID-19 testing lanes in Raleigh, Mercer, Jefferson and Berkeley counties this weekend,” said Hoyer. “Multiple community partners have joined forces for this initiative, which underscores the West Virginia spirit and the Governor’s ‘whole of government’ approach to fight this virus which includes government, for-profit, non-profit, and volunteer organizations working together collectively for the benefit of all our fellow West Virginias.”
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 63 days ago, the WVNG has completed 1,062 missions through our six lines of effort of operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies, innovation, state surge capacity and capability, and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 695 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.
Effective today in Fairmont, Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical are assisting the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) in COVID-19 testing at assisted living facilities, as directed by Governor Jim Justice.
Task Force CRE is continuing to provide PPE training for various businesses, state agencies and first responders. To date, this team has trained 724 businesses, 3,950 personnel and 97 medical or long-term care facilities.
In addition to training, Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical have conducted 447 COVID-19 tests for lane support and 3,030 tests as a part of their overall response mission.
In the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guardsmen and women assisted packing 600 box meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 287 family meal boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank and delivered 3,500 meals to Putnam County via refrigerated trucks.
Task Force Sustainment, our team dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, delivered PPE to local emergency managers in Regions 4 and 5.
West Virginia Guard personnel assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles have sanitized 375 vehicles in two locations – Huntington and Charleston – which includes ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses.
West Virginia National Guard medical personnel augmenting DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 166 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements which resulted in 124 expedited transfers to the state lab. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted more than 6,873 voluntary COVID-19 mappings.
All current and future missions performed by the WVNG are a part of a coordinated state-level public health preparation and response effort for the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, initiated by Governor Jim Justice, and being led by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.