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Negatively Pressurized Conex finds place at Dover AFB

A negatively pressurized conex is installed on a C-17 Globemaster III before an aircrew mission, Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

A negatively pressurized conex is installed on a C-17 Globemaster III before an aircrew mission, Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Capt. Alexis Todaro, Negatively Pressurized Conex program manager, gives a tour of an NPC to Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director, and Brig. Gen. Norman West, Air Mobility Command surgeon general, during a base visit Oct. 21, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Place and Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, Defense Health Agency senior enlisted leader, visited Dover Air Force Base to experience firsthand the missions of the 436th Medical Group, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. The DHA supports the delivery of integrated, affordable and high-quality health services to Military Health System beneficiaries and is responsible for driving greater integration of clinical and business processes across the MHS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Capt. Alexis Todaro, Negatively Pressurized Conex program manager, gives a tour of an NPC to Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director, and Brig. Gen. Norman West, Air Mobility Command surgeon general, during a base visit Oct. 21, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Place and Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, Defense Health Agency senior enlisted leader, visited Dover Air Force Base to experience firsthand the missions of the 436th Medical Group, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. The DHA supports the delivery of integrated, affordable and high-quality health services to Military Health System beneficiaries and is responsible for driving greater integration of clinical and business processes across the MHS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Tech. Sgt. Holly McCullough-Cruz, 775th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight biological containment unit noncommissioned officer in charge, decontaminates a negatively pressurized conex, Oct. 21, 2020 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Tech. Sgt. Holly McCullough-Cruz, 775th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight biological containment unit noncommissioned officer in charge, decontaminates a negatively pressurized conex, Oct. 21, 2020 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Tech. Sgt. Holly McCullough-Cruz, 775th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight biological containment unit noncommissioned officer in charge, decontaminates a negatively pressurized conex, Oct. 21, 2020 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Tech. Sgt. Holly McCullough-Cruz, 775th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight biological containment unit noncommissioned officer in charge, decontaminates a negatively pressurized conex, Oct. 21, 2020 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB hosts two NPCs in support of COVID-19 medical evacuation operations and has transported 26 patients as of Dec. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Capt. Alexis Todaro, Negatively Pressurized Conex program manager, briefs Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, about the NPC’s function during a base visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after ten years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Capt. Alexis Todaro, Negatively Pressurized Conex program manager, briefs Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, about the NPC’s function during a base visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after ten years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

Members from across Team Dover continue to support COVID transport operations by participating in the implementation of the negatively pressurized conex, or NPC, transforming the way patients are safely transported across the globe.

Soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, United States Transportation Command required a modern and effective contamination chamber and the Air Force answered the call with the NPC.

"In less than 30 days, the NPC went from an idea on a napkin to a proven concept ... and only 88 days from that idea to the delivery of an operational system," said Lt. Col. Paul Hendrickson, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense materiel leader. “This was made possible by a team comprised of the Air Force CBRN Defense Systems Branch working with the Joint Program Executive Office for CBRN Defense and partnering with teams across the Air Force and Department of Defense."

The NPC can transfer a maximum of up to 28 patients at a time, compared to the two-to-four capacity of its predecessor, the transportation isolation system.

“The goal of the NPC is to help us keep infectious organisms contained, in order to prevent the aircrew and medical professionals on board the aircraft from being exposed,” said Capt. Alexis Todaro, NPC program manager. "The container is negatively pressurized; fans are continuously pulling the air from within the unit through high-efficiency particulate filters to prevent any exposure to the aircraft.”

Due to its strategic geographic location, Dover was selected to host two NPCs for use aboard the C-17 Globemaster III.

Aircrew members from the 3rd Airlift Squadron are in charge of transporting NPCs across the globe. After the NPC’s return to Dover from a mission, members deployed to the 775th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight are responsible for decontaminating the module.

“An aeromedical operation evacuation team is here for the decontamination of the NPC’s,” said Capt. Kemeshia Greene, 775th EAEF Dover detachment officer in charge. “After they are done transporting patients, the NPC is then brought to Dover to be decontaminated. We have a team that is trained to use special personal protective equipment to put on and to use certain disinfectants to sterilize the NPCs.”

Since Dec. 15, 2020, Dover AFB has transported a total of 26 patients utilizing the NPCs. As a part of the global response to COVID-19, the NPCs will remain at Dover AFB, which currently serves as the East Coast hub for deployment and decontamination operations.

“I am truly impressed with Team Dover’s continued commitment to COVID-19 response operations,” said Lt. Gen Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director, during a tour of the NPC facilities. “Dover’s support of the NPC mission helps ensure the medical readiness of our Total Force.”