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South Dakota Wing First COVID-19 Delivery Mission

December 15, 2020

RAPID, CITY, SD - The South Dakota Wing delivered COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 15 on behalf of the South Dakota Department of Health.

At the Health Department's request, the wing is flying the vaccine to certain smaller communities in the state without regularly scheduled air service. Other wing members will assist with mission planning and logistical support.

Civil Air Patrol is assisting with vaccine distribution in its role as the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, part of the Air Force Total Force. “This is truly a turning point in the battle against COVID-19,” said Col Nick Gengler, South Dakota Wing commander. “Through the efforts by the South Dakota Department of Health, its health partners and Civil Air Patrol we were able to coordinate an effective way to contribute to this mission.

"Our professional volunteers stepped up today to provide a service to the local communities," Gengler said. "We will continue to be of service and look forward to ways we can continue to contribute.”

“Thanks to the robust support of CAP National Headquarters and 1st Air Force, we are well on our way to providing a much-needed service to the people of South Dakota,” said Lt. Col. Todd Epp, mission incident commander. “We are happy to partner with Gov. Kristi Noem and the Department of Health in their efforts to keep South Dakotans safe from the coronavirus.”

AP is aligned with 1st Air Force to rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.

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