WARFIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Md. (AFNS) --
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones and Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, Air National Guard director, visited Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport, Sept. 11, to meet with wing leadership to discuss the ongoing efforts to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all wing members.
During her visit to the 175th Wing, her first as under secretary, the conversation centered around limiting factors to executing the COVID-19 vaccination timeline, concerns voiced by Airmen, medical and religious exemptions, and what the best practices are for communicating the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“When we look at the numbers Guard-wide you guys are doing very well,” Jones said. “I appreciate everything you are doing from the educational piece, to the town halls, and I thank you for everything you are doing for your Airmen.”
Jones also inquired about Airmen who are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think the educational piece is a huge part of how we have gotten to where we are now,” said Col. Amy Kremer, 175th Mission Support Group commander. “We’ve been able to do town halls with our members and also the mass vaccination site at M&T Bank stadium where we worked with University of Maryland providers and they were able to speak with our Airmen.”
Jones and Loh also toured 175th Medical Group facilities where they observed the day-to-day operations performed by Airmen assigned to the medical group. While walking through the medical facility, Jones took the opportunity to speak with medical Airmen and thank them for everything they do.
“It was great meeting the under secretary, and to see someone who comes from a similar background as me, is inspiring,” said Tech. Sgt. Ophelia Walker, 175th MG aerospace medical technician. “It means a lot and it made me realize that what we are doing, and have done to support the citizens of Maryland and the country, is recognized by people at the highest levels of leadership.”
Jones previously served in the United States Air Force from 2002-2006 as an intelligence officer and deployed to Iraq with the 18th Air Support Operations Group supporting close air support operations.