A NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center crewmember offloads supplies from a DC-8 for an Emergency Field Hospital at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, Jan. 11. Samaritan’s Purse, charitable organization, has partnered with Lancaster Baptist Church, the city of Lancaster and AV Hospital to provide a 70-bed temporary field hospital to support COVID-19 patients. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

PALMDALE — NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center received a special arrival Jan. 11; a DC-8 cargo aircraft from Samaritan’s Purse arrived carrying supplies for an Emergency Field Hospital at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California.

The field hospital will be set up to support the AV community in treating COVID-19 patients. The effort is spearheaded by Samaritan’s Purse, a faith-based organization that have provided physical aid to victims of war, poverty natural disasters, disease and famine.

To support the effort, Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale has allowed use of its airfield for delivery of initial arrival components as well as resupply missions. The 412th Test Wing leadership at Edwards Air Force Base, California, has also put a call out for volunteers to help staff the emergency field hospital.

“Plant 42 is often referred to as the ‘downtown’ Air Force. Our location puts us strategically in the heart of the Lancaster/Palmdale communities in the Aerospace Valley,” said Dr. David Smith, Air Force Plant 42 Director. “As such, our personnel and more importantly our thousands of mission partners call this home. We are delighted to extend medical care to our community as it directly impacts our ‘home team’ area of operations. This care facility also directly supports our own personnel’s medical needs, which in turn directly support the warfighter.”

Samaritan’s Purse’s Assistant to the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations, Edward Graham, was accompanied by Plant 42 and NASA Armstrong leadership as the DC-8 arrived and its contents were off-loaded by NASA and Samaritans Purse crews. They have partnered with Lancaster Baptist Church and Antelope Valley Hospital to construct the 70-bed temporary field hospital. The field hospital will serve COVID-positive patients who do not need the support of a ventilator.

Plant 42 is no stranger to supporting the local community, from providing support to STEM engagements at local schools to executing mutual aid for major wildland fires and nearby vehicle accidents, Smith explained.

“The entire Plant 42 team is delighted to support our community. This is our home, so the dedication and selfless service from our personnel and our mission partners is most satisfying,” Smith said. “Service is a core value of our Air Force, and the folks at the Plant exemplify this valued characteristic.”

Samaritan’s Purse is looking for both medical and non-medical volunteers. Edwards AFB and Plant 42 personnel who wish to volunteer may reach out to their supervisors for unit-specific volunteering procedures.

Medical professionals can sign up at http://samaritanspurse.org/dartapp, non-medical personnel can sign up at https://lancasterca.seamlessdocs.com/f/VolunteerForm

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