FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. — U.S. Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force personnel received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at McGill Training Center yesterday in support of a Department of Defense-wide effort to vaccinate the workforce.
Army Brig. Gen. William J. Hartman, commander of CNMF, was among those who received the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday.
“We’ve got a very important mission,” said Hartman. “And the biggest reason [to get vaccinated] is to ensure that our joint service members can get out and execute the mission in a way that keeps them and our mission partners as safe as possible.”
CNMF is responsible for planning, directing and synchronizing the full-spectrum of cyberspace operations.
A Sailor attached to CNMF, also received the voluntary COVID-19 vaccination at McGill Training Center.
“Since I joined the military, I’ve been getting vaccines,” said the Sailor. “I figured I’m not allergic to vaccines, I don’t have any complications from vaccines – the ones I’ve taken – so might as well be a part of the cause in making sure we vaccinate as many people as we can so we can get back to some sense of normality.”
CNMF is critical to USCYBERCOM’s mission and vaccination of its personnel along with physical distancing and use of masks helps ensure the health and readiness of the force.
A Soldier attached to CNMF sited already having contracted the virus once as her reason she opted to receive the vaccine yesterday.
“I’ve already had COVID so I know how it feels, and if there’s any way to prevent that or prevent spreading it to other people I want to do that,” said the Soldier. “It will be more of a peace of mind for me knowing that I’m not giving it to other people.”
The commander of USCYBERCOM and the director of the the National Security Agency, Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone along with the senior enlisted leader, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Sheryl D. Lyon, were among those who received the first round of vaccinations last week.
After Nakasone received the vaccine, he said that he didn’t feel a thing, and later expressed the importance of the program.
“Tuesday was an exciting day for Cyber Command and NSA, and it was just the start,” said Nakasone. “As we move forward within DoD’s vaccination program, I am encouraged by the hard work and commitment of the Cyber Command and NSA workforces.”
Nakasone and Lyon in part wanted to receive the vaccine as a show of confidence to the NSA/USCYBERCOM workforce. The vaccine was administered by staff from the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center.
“The medical personnel were very thorough and professional and they made the process very easy,” said Lyon. “I am grateful that Operation Warp Speed has provided this opportunity and want to encourage our entire workforce to consider receiving the vaccine as it becomes available.”
KACC received a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through coordination with Operation Warp Speed, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services. KACC is coordinating with other Fort Meade military treatment facilities to ensure efficient distribution and administration of the vaccine. Although KACC has only received COVID-19 vaccines from one manufacturer at this time, a spokesperson from the care center said they have the capacity and capability to receive and process both of the currently available vaccines.
Healthcare staff, a mix of civilian and military personnel, have been preparing for the large number of inoculations they began administering last week. Army Spc. Christian Banda, a healthcare specialist assigned to KACC, was one of the healthcare workers helping administer the vaccine at McGill Training Center. Banda commented on the extensive training healthcare workers received to facilitate safe storage, handling and administration of the vaccine.
“Everybody here has done the exact same training,” said Banda. “There’s about five different [trainings] you have to do. And prior to that, we also had training with flu vaccines. We’ve all given a great amount of vaccines, so this isn’t anything new to us.”
Banda also spoke about his experience with this specific vaccination process.
“It’s a great opportunity to make a really big impact on everybody,” said Banda. “Getting them vaccinated, preventing further harm from COVID – I’m very grateful to be able to help.”
USCYBERCOM is following DoD guidance for prioritization of administration of the vaccine and will continue to release information on the availability of the vaccination to the workforce.