The Secretary of Defense has appointed Guam Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Johnny Lizama to oversee the Guam National Guard’s response to COVID-19.
Lizama is the Assistant Adjutant General on Guam.
Now that Joint Task Force 671 has been stood up he serves as Dual Status Commander.
In this role, Lizama oversees operations for guardsmen, reservists, and active-duty service members, as well as overseeing federal entities responding to the COVID-19 crisis on island.
“The more resources we bring to help the island of Guam, whether it’s DOD (department of defense), or FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), or any other entity, this is where we’re able to manage and lead from one perspective,” he said. All the different entities that are on Guam and the entities that come to Guam for this particular response, fall under the dual status commander.”
JTF 671 works directly with Guam Homeland Security and FEMA to assess and plan current and future operations and missions deemed necessary to help flatten the curve on island.
“This is similar to any disaster response we’ve had in the past, the most common, which is recovering from typhoons,” Lizama said. “However, this falls under the same type of response by a different type of disaster with a different type of contingency. We use the same type of organizational structure, but we have different mechanisms that focus toward COVID.”
Though the COVID-19 situation remains fluid, Lizama assures the community that the task force can adjust to the needs of the government and community.
“With the dual status commander and having all these structures in place, we’re able to swell to the need and provide that assistance,” he said. “As things begin to positively progress, we can again change our response to fit the need.”
While dozens answer the call to serve, many are proud and honored to be at the frontline protecting their home, their island and their people.
“Many of these service members are made up of your Guam residents,” Lizama said. “This is a way for them to serve and give back to the community; to show that we are value-added to Guam, and that a moment’s notice they would respond for the community and to augment our first responders.”
Lizama added that as the DSC, he hopes the military’s presence provides hope and promise to the people of Guam.
“We are going to provide assistance and if we need to branch out and reach further than Guam for support, know that Guam is going to be taken care of because of all the assets you already have in place.”
In mid-March, when Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero activated the Guam National Guard, nearly 150 Soldiers and Airmen were called to duty to support their island in combating COVID-19.
From providing security support to the Guam Police Department at various isolations sites on island, to medical support at Guam hospitals and the governor’s office, guardsmen stand trained and ready to respond to any missions assigned to them.
On April 3