349th Medical Squadron supports COVID-19 relief

  • Published
  • By 349th Public Affairs Staff
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Undaunted by the daily risks and challenges of COVID-19, three Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 349th Medical Squadron at Travis Air Force Base are now standing shoulder-to-shoulder with New York’s hospitals and healthcare workers.

In late December 2021, President Biden announced the mobilization of military medical personnel to support a whole-of-government COVID-19 response. Maj. (Dr.) Sanjiv Baxi, an internal medicine physician, is one of the three reservists recently mobilized to help with the massive effort.

This is Baxi’s second COVID-19 relief deployment to New York, and his first was in the spring of 2020 to help with a crushing number of COVID-19 patients in the early months of the pandemic.

“I am just honored to support the effort with the COVID-19 operation in the U.S., in a hospital setting,” said Baxi, who is an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist in his civilian career.

"We are particularly trained and bring unique skill sets to help Americans on American soil, and it's just a tremendous thing."

Tech. Sgt. Kimmylou Lam, a cardiopulmonary technician, was notified of her deployment and was ready to go in less than 48 hours.

Lam said she works with COVID-19 patients very closely as a respiratory therapist in her civilian job in California. She expects her work during the deployment to the other side of the country to be very similar.

“It has been emotionally very straining, especially with the younger people we have been seeing. The pandemic is heartbreaking,” said Lam. This will be her first deployment in support of COVID-19.

Maj. (Dr.) Lynette Mendoza is a family medicine physician with the 349 MDS and also practices full-time with the Veterans Administration.

“I treat COVID-19 patients after they are released from the hospital. I care for veterans of all ages,” said Mendoza. “I have participated in innovative readiness training that was staged in Delaware last year, but this is my first COVID-19 related deployment.”

Being a Reserve Citizen Airmen requires sustained readiness and resilience. Family, military requirements, and getting mentally prepared for challenges is part of every reservist’s lifestyle.

Mendoza said that she’s honored to be selected for this deployment that will help patients and her fellow healthcare workers who are desperate for help.

“I am very happy and I want to represent my unit the best I can along with my teammates,” she said before completing her final pre-deployment tasks.