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Information Warfare Airmen Rise Up to Break the COVID Kill Chain

Airmen in uniform stand in a formation.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, and various members of the 16th Air Force receive their last COVID-19 vaccine dose Jan. 15, 2021 at Wilford Hall Medical Center. 16th Air Force is following Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination guidelines while continuing the CDC recommended safety practices of mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. (Photo by Sharon Singleton)

Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh talks while standing in front of four medical center Airmen.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander thanks the Wilford Hall Medical Center staff for their efforts in combatting the COVID-19 virus by providing vaccinations to 16th Air Force staff on Jan. 15, 2021. 16th Air Force is following Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination guidelines while continuing the CDC recommended safety practices of mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. (Photo by Vincent Childress)

A female in an Army uniform receives a shot in her arm.

U.S. Army Specialist receives her last COVID-19 vaccine dose Jan. 15, 2021 at Wilford Hall Medical Center. 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) is following Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination guidelines while continuing the CDC recommended safety practices of mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Sharon Singleton)

Airmen in uniform stand in a formation.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, stands with members of the 16th Air Force after they received their last COVID-19 vaccine dose Jan. 15, 2021 at Wilford Hall Medical Center. 16th Air Force is following Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination guidelines while continuing the CDC recommended safety practices of mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas. -- More than 300 enlisted personnel, officers, civilians and contractors from the Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) received the COVID-19 vaccine administered at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center in support of a Department of Defense-wide effort to vaccinate the workforce Jan 15, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander was among those who received the COVID-19 vaccination.

"This is a tremendous moment for our Airmen," said Haugh. "I am honored to be here with the Airmen of the Sixteenth. Receiving the shot is about us as Airmen doing our part to break the COVID kill chain,” said Haugh.

JBSA-Lackland, Texas is in the first phase of vaccine distribution, which gives vaccines to health care workers, then first responders, followed by critical national capabilities personnel who volunteered for the vaccine. Due to their mission set, Sixteenth Air Force Airmen are considered mission essential. Receiving the vaccine is in addition to recommended COVID-19 safety procedures already in place: physical distancing, washing hands and using masks.  The combined use of these efforts help ensure the health and readiness of cyber Airmen and the protection of those around them.

Reasons for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine vary from Airman to Airman.

Some Airmen felt the vaccine would increase their safety, others desire to protect their family and friends who are at high risk, but the majority want life to get back to normal and felt it was the responsible thing to do for their country.  Every Airman who volunteers is making a contribution to end the global pandemic.

An Airman attached to the 688th Cyberspace Wing took pride in receiving the vaccine and would like to inspire others to follow his lead.

“I did this for my family who is high risk,” said the Airman. “It will ease my mind knowing that I am protecting them and we can end this pandemic.”

The Federal Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization, or EUA, for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. According to CDC.gov, “Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

 “I am proud everyone is rising up to the COVID-19 challenge. It has never been more important than right now to follow CDC guidance: wash our hands, wear a mask, physical distance, stay home when sick, and get tested if feeling symptomatic.” said Haugh.

The Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is the first-of-its-kind Numbered Air Force. Also known as the Air Force’s Information Warfare Numbered Air Force, the 16th integrates multisource intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations capabilities across the conflict continuum to ensure that our Air Force is fast, lethal and fully integrated in both competition and in war. Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) provides mission integration of IW at operational and tactical levels… recognizing the role of information in creating dilemmas for adversaries in competition and, if necessary, future conflicts.

For facts and information about the COVID-19 vaccine go to the CDC COVID-19 Facts.

Get more information on the DOD's COVID-19 efforts and distribution plan from the Military Health System.