The Army Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer 1st Class Gavin Paton, recently visited soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh who are operating a coronavirus mobile testing unit (MTU) in Gloucester.
During his visit he spent time talking with the 12 soldiers at the MTU to understand how they are delivering crucial support to our health service in the response to COVID-19 and how they are engaging with members of the public who require a test.
Our soldiers are serving the nation in a way I am sure they never envisaged when they joined the Army, but they are rising to the challenge fantastically WO1 Gavin Paton
Talking about his visit to the MTU, the Army Sergeant Major said:
“While I had a rough idea of what a MTU did, I wanted to visit to gain a better appreciation of how exactly the testing process worked, how the soldiers are delivering it and to say thank you for their efforts.
“Our soldiers are serving the nation in a way I am sure they never envisaged when they joined the Army, but they are rising to the challenge fantastically. It is amazing to see our young soldiers and junior NCO’s interacting with members of the public, who are anxious about their health, with incredible professionalism and providing the necessary reassurance to them throughout the testing process.”
As part of the response to COVID-19, the Ministry of Defence has helped create a network of mobile testing units across the country. All military personnel working within the units have received appropriate training from NHS experts. The units, which can easily be set up in under 20 minutes, allow for the potential testing of hundreds of people each day.
The Army Sergeant Major concluded by saying:
“The support being provided to our communities here and at the other MTUs is astonishing. I am proud of what they are doing and having just spent 15 minutes in full personal protective equipment I can appreciate that what they are having to endure all day every day in supporting this effort is really impressive.”