CENTRAL POINT, Ore. --
The goal was straightforward – deliver free COVID 19 vaccines to the people of Southern Oregon. There were already a number of COVID vaccination clinics across the state, but what made the Jackson County Vaccination Equity Project unique? The assigning of the Oregon National Guard’s first Dual Status Commander.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Crosby, the current Assistant Adjutant General for Air for the Oregon National Guard, was tasked as the Joint Task Force Oregon Dual Status Commander “To best work with our civilian partners, we established Oregon’s first dual status commander that puts all military resources under one command, working jointly with our federal friends and county leaders,” said Crosby. “This makes it easy for the county to come to one point of contact and best serve the people of southern Oregon.”
As the JTF OR DSC, Crosby was in command of approximately 120 personnel from all branches of the Armed Forces; Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, including Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve forces. Navy and Marine medical professionals provided the vaccinations, with support functions from Army and Air Force personnel. The Coast Guard supplied the Incident Management Team to work in conjunction with Jackson County Emergency Management.
A DSC is usually appointed when DOD personnel of multiple statuses, Active Duty (Federal) and Guard (state), are assigned to the same stateside mission. The DSC has a unique chain of command, reporting both up through US Northern Command (Federal) and the Adjutant General (state) as well as having authority for all DoD personnel, no matter their status.
Crosby is uniquely qualified for this position, having previously attended Joint Task Force Commander training and receiving Dual Status Commander Certification. In his current role as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air he is responsible for leading, organizing, training, equipping, and deploying Oregon Air National Guard forces when activated to support state and federal missions. He provides direction to all elements of the ORANG for developing and executing plans, policies, and programs in the preparation of war and peacetime operations.
“The people of southern Oregon have been through a lot this last year,” said Crosby. “When Jackson County asked for help, the federal government and state of Oregon sent help.” .
Jackson County Public Health had already set up a COVID vaccination clinic at the Jackson County Expo, but county officials wanted to extend vaccination efforts to underserved and marginalized populations. They requested assistance, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Defense stepped in to help.
“This FEMA vaccination center is different than other FEMA centers; this vaccination center is county lead, and supported by the federal government and the state of Oregon,” said Crosby.
The Jackson County Vaccination Equity Project completed it’s nearly two month mission having provided 26,925 total vaccinations.
Crosby attributed the success of the mission to “the willingness of everyone (county, state, federal, contractors and DoD) to work together to achieve the mission – making vaccinations available to citizens of Jackson County and the surrounding area.”
When asked if he had any advice for future DSCs Crosby stated, “Stay true to the intent of why the DSC was created – consolidate all DoD resources under your command and speak with one voice to the civilian authorities and your Title 10 and Title 32 chains of command.”