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Army gauges interest in voluntary recalls of medical soldiers

The Army is gauging interest from retired officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers who would be willing to assist with the coronavirus pandemic response effort should their skills and expertise be required, according to an email sent out Wednesday afternoon and provided to Army Times.

“These extraordinary challenges require equally extraordinary solutions and that’s why we’re turning to you — trusted professionals capable of operating under constantly changing conditions," the email reads. "When the Nation called — you answered, and now, that call may come again.”

The email listed a series of Army health care jobs that would be of interest: 60F, critical care officer; 60N, anesthesiologist; 66F, nurse anesthetist; 66S, critical care nurse; 66P, nurse practitioner; 66T, emergency room nurse; 68V, respiratory specialist; and 68W, medic.

The message included an email signature for Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, the Army deputy chief of staff for manpower.

An Army spokesperson said the email was part of their department’s effort to gauge “availability and capabilities” of retired career medical personnel to assist with the pandemic if needed.

“This information request will in no way interfere with any care they may be providing to their communities, is for future planning purposes only and is completely voluntary,” the Army spokesperson said in a statement.

The email passed to Army Times also noted the still critical role many former military health care professionals play in their new civilian careers.

“We need to hear from you STAT!” the email reads. “If you are working in a civilian hospital or medical facility, please let us know. We do not want to detract from the current care and treatment you are providing to the Nation.”

“While this is targeted at medical specialties, if you are interested in re-joining the team and were in a different specialty, let us know your interest,” the email added.

The email listed phone numbers and addresses for recipients to reach out.

The Army — and the U.S. armed forces more broadly — are often leaned upon in times of national crises. The coronavirus pandemic has been no different.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy ordered three Army hospital centers to deploy to New York and Washington states to assist governors there in tamping down on the coronavirus.

Those orders deployed the 531st Hospital from Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 627th Hospital from Fort Carson, Colorado; and the 9th Hospital from Fort Hood, Texas — all of which are active duty units.

The field hospitals could arrive at their destinations in as few as seven days or less, an Army official said previously.

New York and Washington have been among the worst hit states thus far by the coronavirus pandemic. Washington has reported more than 2,000 cases, while New York’s numbers surpass 20,000, according to the Center for Disease Control.

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