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Task Force-Southeast supports COVID-19 fight

Task Force-Southeast provides defense support on behalf of Department of Defense

U.S. armed forces assigned to Task Force-Southeast, Federal Emergency Management Agency and state of Pennsylvania Emergency Medical Services members gather to discuss medical relief efforts during the Coronavirus pandemic in Stroudsburg, Pa., April 14, 2020. Through coordination, a COVID-19 alternate care facility was erected to treat regional patients during the pandemic. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense's COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Daniel J. Alkana)

Task Force-Southeast provides defense support on behalf of Department of Defense

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. R. Scott Lambe, left, Task Force-Southeast deputy commander, and U.S. Army Col. Larry Dewey, center, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region III Defense Coordinating Officer, alongside various members, asses the Koehler Field House, located at East Stroudsburg University, Stroudsburg, Pa., April 14, 2020. The facility will have the capacity to treat regional coronavirus patients during the pandemic. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense's COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Daniel J. Alkana)

Task Force-Southeast surveys Liacouras Center

Christopher Baldini, front, Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Medical Branch director, discusses Liacouras Center medical operations and logistics with U.S. Air Force Maj. Wanda Jimenez, middle, Task Force-Southeast clinical specialist, and other personnel at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., April 15, 2020. Through a whole-of-government approach, Temple University's Liacouras Center was transformed to provide the region a COVID-19 alternate care site. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to FEMA to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adrian Patoka)

Task Force-Southeast surveys Liacouras Center

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. R. Scott Lambe, Task Force-Southeast deputy commander, and U.S. armed forces logisticians and planners listen to Sandy Gomberg, Liacouras Center Chief Executive Officer, discuss logistics and operations at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., April 15, 2020. Through a whole-of-government approach, Temple University's Liacouras Center was transformed to provide the region a COVID-19 alternate care site. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to FEMA to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adrian Patoka)

Task Force-Southeast surveys Liacouras Center

Sandy Gomberg, Liacouras Center Chief Executive Officer, explains the center's operations to Task Force-Southeast, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and Liacouras Center staff at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., April 15, 2020. Through a whole-of-government approach, Temple University's Liacouras Center was transformed to provide the region a COVID-19 alternate care site. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to FEMA to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adrian Patoka)

Task Force-Southeast conducts ROF briefing

Personnel from Task Force-Southeast set to forward deploy sit through a brief on the Rules of Force and the Posse Comitatus Act, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 13, 2020. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Floyd)

Task Force-Southeast participates in Commander's Update Brief

U.S. Airmen assigned to Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE) participate in the Commander's Update Brief in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 Response, at the Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 11, 2020. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. 1st Class Miriam Esparza)

Task Force-Southeast participates in Commander's Update Brief

U.S. Air Force Lt Col. Erica Meyer, Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE) Chief of Operations, participates in the Commanders Update Brief in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 Response, at the Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 11, 2020. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. 1st Class Miriam Esparza)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, left, Ninth Air Force commander speaks with Royal Air Force Wing Commander Philip Holdcroft, Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE) future operations chief in the Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. April 7, 2020. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, center, Task Force-Southeast commander, practices social distancing while thanking Airmen assigned to the 85th Engineering Installation, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., for the work they did in preparing the new TF-SE Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 2, 2020. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. David Hollars, left, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron operations flight chief stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., explains to U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, Task Force-Southeast commander, the setup of the communication rack and expansion capabilities in the new Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 2, 2020. The 85th EIS was able to set up the communications network for TF-SE's JOC in one week, two weeks ahead of projection. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nick Hallman, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron cable technician stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., installs cable inside of the newly-established Joint Operations Center for Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE) at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 30, 2020. Deployed as part of U.S. Army North, TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in Federal Emergency Management Agency regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. TF-SE will provide medical, planning, communication, transportation and logistics support. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Floyd)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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U.S. Airmen with Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE) conduct mission analysis during an operational planning team meeting in the Joint Operations Center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 28, 2020. TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA region III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Angela Webb)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caleb Chancellor, front, Senior Airman Caleb Ellis, middle, and Staff Sgt. Cole Smith, back, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron cable technicians stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., install cables inside the newly-established Joint Operations Center for the Task Force-Southeast at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 30, 2020. Deployed as part of U.S. Army North, TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in Federal Emergency Management Agency regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. TF-SE will provide medical, planning, communication, transportation and logistics support. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Floyd)

Task Force-Southeast Defense Support to Civil Authorities
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A graphic for Task Force-Southeast (TF-SE). TF-SE provides defense support of civil authorities in FEMA regions III and IV on behalf of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --

The Department of Defense has stood up task forces across the U.S. to provide relief to state health care systems fighting COVID-19.

Task Force-Southeast, led by Ninth Air Force, is the primary DoD support organization for the Federal Emergency Management Agency response to COVID-19 in FEMA Regions III and IV.

“When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, we were asked if we could potentially lead the JTF for relief,” said Col. Jason Jensen, Task Force-Southeast operations director. “We were asked again to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and were selected, which was a great opportunity to demonstrate what we have been training toward.”

Ninth AF participated in many training exercises to stay ready to respond to various situations. The unit was scheduled to participate in a major exercise before pivoting to provide support to FEMA’s fight against COVID-19. The Defense Support of Civil Authorities was a mission Ninth AF had been training to lead.

Ninth AF members needed to transition quickly from preparing for an exercise outside of the continental U.S. to real-world operations leading Task Force-Southeast.

“Standing up Ninth Air Force as the Southeast regional task force was a Herculean team effort,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Sikora, TF-SE communications superintendent. “On short notice, we had to prepare two facilities to conduct command and control of forces across 13 states to respond to the national COVID-19 crisis.”

TF-SE is based out of Shaw AFB but consists of service members from many different units across U.S. Northern Command, as well as representatives from FEMA.

“We as Airmen, think like Airmen,” Jensen said. “A Soldier brings the different perspective and expertise the Army has acquired regularly performing these operations in the homeland. We also bring in-state representatives to the task force so we can see the command and control operations on the federal side.”

As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, TF-SE is ready to provide much-needed relief to overworked healthcare workers and save lives.