U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Harry Brown, chaplain with the 224th Sustainment Brigade, California Army National Guard, delivered USO morale bags to Cal Guard Soldiers and Airmen at a hotel in Los Angeles County, May 28, 2020.
The Guardsmen are members of Joint Task Force 224 medical support teams assisting medical facilities across Southern California during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The morale bags were donated by the Bob Hope USO at Los Angeles International Airport and they are filled with activity books and snacks.
Brown mentioned that part of the mission of the USO is to support military members in any way that they can, and he wanted to make it a priority to deliver the morale bags, especially as medical teams are coming off of missions.
“Before they go home, they need to go through 14 days of quarantine, and this simple gesture is good for their morale,” said Brown. “These morale bags remind them that they’re appreciated, and we’re here to support them every step of the way.”
Capt. Larry Aguirre, a physician assistant with the 297th Area Support Medical Company, 340th Brigade Support Battalion in San Mateo received one of the bags.
“Getting tested and going through quarantine is for our safety, especially for our families back home, but the time can feel isolating,” said Aguirre. “These bags are appreciated and we look forward to going through them.”
Since Brown was activated in mid-April, he has visited several JTF-224 mission sites to provide religious services. He has also facilitated resilience-training workshops with many of the medical teams to support the brigade’s behavioral health program.
“Helping the morale of Soldiers on the frontlines is important,” said Brown. “We have to make sure that we look out for their emotional and spiritual well-being, both during the mission and when they go home.”
Aguirre said the chaplain has always been readily available to the medical teams and that it has been reassuring to have someone willing to listen and help.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cal Guard medical support teams continue to support humanitarian missions throughout the state.