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Emergency Management during COVID-19

Kevin Rodgers, an Emergency Management Specialist stands before a socially distanced classroom at the 477th Fighter Group, Oct. 4, 2020.

Kevin Rodgers, an Emergency Management Specialist stands before a socially distanced classroom at the 477th Fighter Group, Oct. 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Song Jordan)

Kevin Rodgers, a 477th Fighter Group Emergency Management Specialist stands in front of a classroom, Oct. 4, 2020.

Kevin Rodgers, a 477th Fighter Group Emergency Management Specialist stands in front of a classroom, Oct. 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Song Jordan)

477th Fighter Group Reserve Citizen Airmen look on, as the instructor speaks, Oct. 4, 2020.

477th Fighter Group Reserve Citizen Airmen look on, as the instructor speaks, Oct. 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Song Jordan)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --

Keeping up with training requirements is one of the many challenges units throughout the military are facing during modified operations due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Rodgers, an Emergency Management Specialist is working diligently to ensure Reserve Citizen Airmen are able to stay current with training. He joined the 477th Fighter Group in March 2020.

Rodgers is a proud military brat who followed his father, grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins into a life of service.

 “I was given a choice of Air Force Specialty Codes at the Military Entrance Processing Station and this seemed like an interesting career. I trained at Fort Leonard Wood and haven’t looked back since,” he said.

Rodgers, an Air Force veteran, has worked in Air Force Emergency Management for nearly 19 years. 

And it shows.

 “It’s great. We’ve got one of the best possible candidates in the Air Force Reserve and the Air Force. He has a wealth of knowledge within his career field that I haven’t seen in any of the other applicants that applied for the position,” said Maj. Stephen Lee, 477th FG director of staff.

Although the pandemic may have slowed the pace of training Rodgers is able to offer, he’s still teaching. He’s taught several classes of reduced sizes, paying close attention to social distancing requirements.

Rodgers said that adapting to changes is a vital part of emergency management.

“Just look at the last year. Could we have foreseen 2020’s impact in 2019? Had we pressed on and tried to run operations as we had in 2019, people would have gotten sick and possibly worse, in much greater numbers. We adapted, we changed. We adopted new ways of accomplishing the mission with alterations and changes sometimes hitting us daily, if not hourly,” Rodgers said.

Teaching is his favorite part of the job.

“Teaching the Group’s Airmen is a key part of the job. Whether it be how to operate safely in a chemical warfare environment or how to operate a command center during an emergency. What I teach the Airman could save lives,” he said.

Postponing training and waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end is not an option for the 477th FG.

“The commander wants our chemical warfare [training] numbers as high we can keep them, in case we have to go to war,” Rodgers said.