Master Sgt. Frank Mancino

Sgt. Dillon Henderson with the Tennessee Army National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Master Sgt. Frank Mancino, an Arnold Engineering Development Complex team member, at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., Feb. 23, 2021, at the Medical Aid Station on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Even as Phase 1C continues to vaccinate those 65 and over and those with medical conditions, vaccinations are underway at AEDC as personnel there are being encouraged to receive the COVID inoculations so the facility can return to full operational capacity.

Vials of the two-dose Moderna vaccine arrived at base, and the first doses were administered last month by members of a COVID Joint Task Force from the Tennessee Army and Air National Guards and Arnold AFB’s Medical Aid Station medical staff personnel.

Moderna is one of the primary vaccines being used in middle Tennessee for inoculations. Both the Coffee County Health Department and Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton are among places offering vaccinations. You may go onto the state website at covid19.tn.gov to book an appointment through the health department or contact Harton for an appointment get the vaccine at the local hospital.

Last month, Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, commander of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex headquartered at Arnold AFB, announced the ordering of vaccines and encouraged members of the workforce eligible to receive the vaccine through the DOD to do so.

“Receiving this vaccine is voluntary, but I strongly encourage you to participate and do your part to help stop the spread of this deadly disease,” Geraghty said. “Your participation will help us return to full operational capacity as soon as possible so that we can more efficiently prove the superiority of systems required to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy and build an Air Force and Space Force second to none!”

Some of the members of Team AEDC that received the vaccine that day shared their reasons for doing so.

Master Sgt. Frank Mancino, Installation Deployment manager, said, “I’ve lived it. I had COVID previously. I had a very rough time and ended up in the hospital twice. I don’t want to go through that again.”

Lauren Arnold, recreation aid for Services, said, “I had the opportunity presented to me, and I wanted to get it to protect myself and others. I believe in science, so I’m just trying to do my part.”

Michael Glennon, senior engineer for AEDC Engineering Support Office, said, “My parents are elderly and my wife is semi-high risk.”

Maj. Wesly Anderson, director of Operations for Aerodynamics Test Branch, said, “I’m always in the control rooms and there is plenty of concern about it spreading in those environments. I want to help the community reach herd immunity.”

Angelia Garrard, Government Special Access Program Security officer, said, “I have elderly parents and in-laws. I also deal with test customers coming in, so it is a benefit all the way around.”

Capt. Christopher Fernandez, Rockets test engineer, said, “Why not? I get yearly vaccines. What is one more?”

Plans are being made for additional vaccine clinics, but dates are not yet available.

All members of the AEDC workforce are reminded that even after receiving the vaccination, adherence to all policies in place concerning mask wearing and social distancing is required.

Geraghty lauded the efforts of the Test Support Division and the Tennessee Guard, and highlighted, “We have come a long way together this past year. We focused on protecting the health of the workforce while we got as much of the mission done as possible, even when the only tools we had were to stay away from each other, wash our hands and wear face coverings. Now that we have the opportunity to get inoculated against the disease, I’m so grateful to see members of Team AEDC take this next logical step.”