Nevada National Guard's Mission Against COVID-19


(AP Photo/John Locher)

Members of the Nevada Air National Guard work at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Las Vegas.

Throughout the past eight months, the Nevada National Guard has been activated to help with the state's response to COVID-19 by building and coordinating testing sites.

Nevada’s National Guard is comprised of civilians who all have regular day jobs, but when duty calls, they drop everything to serve.

One of those individuals is Tech Sergeant Mackenzie Perovich. She is currently in charge of the medical personnel at the COVID testing site at Cashman Field.

The testing is performed by U.S. Army medics but the site is coordinated by the Nevada National Guard.

"I'm making sure I'm taking accountability for them every single day, even when the site closed," she said, "Also I'm a liaison between them and our leadership and if they have any family issues or any issues going on with their lives or they need time off work or scheduling problems they come to me about that."

Perovich said all the staff at the site is monitored for coronavirus symptoms. If they do show symptoms, they are immediately tested and sent home until the test results come back or into quarantine if they test positive

However, she said there have been very few cases from the testing site because of how serious everyone is taking it and the extensive protective equipment they are wearing.

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During her civilian life, Perovich works for a brokerage firm in Las Vegas, but since April her job has been at the testing site. She doesn't have medical training, but they needed someone with leadership training to operate the site, which she does have.

Perovich has been with the guard for 10 years and just recently re-signed for another six years of service. Even though the work and training can be difficult, she hasn't had any trouble balancing life, work and her guard duties.

"I love it," she said, "I like the training that we get and I like the fact that I can kind of have one foot in the military side of things and then one foot in the civilian side of things."

Officially, the Nevada National Guard deployment for the pandemic ends at the end of the year, but Pervich believes it is likely to be extended to help with a vaccination program when it launches.

Helping with the state's coronavirus response has been the main focus for the Nevada National Guard this year, but it is not the only way it has been used.

Over the summer, guardsmen were deployed to help local law enforcement during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Staff Sergeant Yardell Bass is trained as a military police officer. He was deployed to those protests and found most protesters were happy to see him.

"They were thanking us for being out there," he said, "Just to help out and just to make sure that everyone was safe, and in case anything got out of control, we were there to help try to keep things to a minimum."

Now, Bass is working at the Cashman Field testing site. He works to guide people through the process, point them in the right direction and address any issues that guardsmen at the site might have.

"I feel like I'm another civilian helping out," Bass said, "The only time I feel like I'm actually in the military is when we have to deal with military issues like before we start the day or at the end of the day."

Tech Sgt. Perovich agrees. She doesn't see herself as a member of the military but as a person just stepping in for her community.

"When I'm out and about on the site, I feel like somebody that lives in Las Vegas and that has been given the opportunity to help my fellow community," she said.

As the guard's mission has gone from weeks to months, Perovich said she is starting to see people get burned out, but she tries to remind them of the bigger picture and that they are helping the community in a time of great need.


Tech Sergeant Mackenzie Perovich, director of medical personnel, Nevada Air National Guard; Staff Sergeant Yardell Bass, Army National Guard

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