NEWS | June 8, 2021

40th Army Band Guardsman recalls COVID-19 activations

By Josh Cohen Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Jordan Snow, a musician with the Vermont Army National Guard’s 40th Army Band, signed up with expectation of continuing his military career as an M-Day Solider: one weekend each month, two weeks per year.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic would change that, requiring far more of Snow, who joined the VTARNG in 2017 after a four-year tour in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a percussionist in the Quantico Marine Corps Field Band.

Snow explains the 40th Army Band’s secondary mission, to provide a Quick Reaction Force for the State in times of emergency.

“Normally, until COVID-19, the QRF was called on for natural disasters, any type of major flood, winter storm, that’s just part of our secondary mission, so when COVID made an appearance in 2020 we were activated to be available for whatever the State needed,” Snow explained

Snow said concerns of virus transmission led to the establishment of an Alternate Health Facility.

“At that point in March 2020 no one really knew what course the virus would take, how the State would react and what exactly COVID-19 was, and how it was transmitted,” he said.

Within days, Snow said the Band was utilized to assist in the establishment of an AHF at the Champlain Valley Exposition. “I helped with the electrical wiring of the facility, assisting electricians from the Air Guard,” he said.

“One thing led to another, and we were asked if we would staff the facility as part of Operation Coyote. The answer was of course yes, and from there we were on duty from March until May 2020 when the facility was broken down and placed in storage," Snow said. Fears of a COVID spike then required it to be reassembled that November.

Asked how he felt about his varied assignments in support of the State’s COVID-19 response, Snow said his prior USMC training “mentally prepared me for anything, that riflemen-first mindset, the whole idea there is not a job one is not going to do, even as a band member in the Vermont Army National Guard.”

Most recently, Snow was recalled in March to assist with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Since then, he has been involved, “with whatever is needed, be it intake, out-processing, scheduling people for the second shot and helping vaccinators with whatever they need.”

Snow said for the current mission he has been trained to fill syringes to the appropriate level, ensuring there are no air bubbles present, and making sure the prepared vaccination doses get to the vaccinators.

“The reason I joined the Marine Corps and the reason I continue in the Vermont National Guard is that I believe everyone has strengths and we should use those strengths to serve the people around us, I am a musician and I want to serve my country and state playing music, so I do that.”

Snow insists it was the right choice to continue service to the State and Nation a weekend a month and two weeks a year.

“Although the past year plus has been a lot more, I’m just glad to be here and able to do my part," he said. "Did I ever think that in the Vermont National Guard I would be doing patient care, building a hospital, helping to roll out vaccines, working towards everyone vaccinated? No, but when that phone call comes in you just go.”

Although born in Germany, residing there until age 10, Snow regards Proctor, Vt., as his hometown.