Tennessee airmen deliver 500,000 COVID-19 testing swabs

WATCH: Half a million COVID-19 testing swabs delivered to the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Half a million COVID19 test swabs landed in the Mid-South Thursday night.

The 164th Airlift Wing arrived with the vital supplies at the Memphis Air National Guard Base.

FOX13 was there as the delivery came in.

Content Continues Below

It was a mission unlike one the Tennessee Airmen with the 164th Airlift Wing had ever done before.

“This is even more meaningful because it’s actually bringing stuff directly back to the United States that’s going to help our populous at large,” said Col. Raymond Robinson, wing commander.

The testing swabs were made in Italy. Officials said this was a rapid mission. Col. Robinson said they had a crew fly the supplies from Italy to Germany where another crew picked them up and flew straight back to the Memphis Air National Guard Base.

“So, it’s pretty phenomenal that we can turn, in less than 48 hours and have those kits back in the United States,” Robinson said.

This mission is also a public-private partnership with FedEx. Col. Robinson sais FedEx will distribute the tests locally and across the nation.

“The coronavirus is new to all of us and it’s certainly for us to get ahead of the curve so to speak,” said Robinson. “The testing and the equipment to test and the kits themselves is a vital part of actually knowing how and where that spread is taking place.”

Col. Robinson said this was one of nine similar missions.

He said he doesn’t know if the Tennessee Airmen will be selected for the next mission but they are hoping for this honor again.

For the latest on coronavirus, stream FOX13 News on FOX13 Memphis Now – it’s free on your Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV as well as your FOX13 News App.