Submitted by FedEx Corporation
With wider-spread coronavirus testing needed in cities and states across the country preparing to peak, Jami Clark — a FedEx Express Global Operations Control specialist, C-17 pilot and member of the Tennessee Air National Guard — took to the skies to pilot a joint overseas mission with the U.S. Armed Forces, transporting nearly one million test swabs from Italy in under 80 hours.
As parts of Italy began to slowly reopen, including areas where surplus test kit equipment is manufactured, Clark and her team began a mission to quickly move these needed supplies to the United States. Over the course of the mission, Clark and her crew traveled from Memphis, Tenn. to Germany, handed the plane off to another crew who flew from Germany to Italy and back with supplies while she and her team rested, then Clark piloted the final flight back to the U.S.
Moments after landing back in Memphis, a FedEx team was waiting to sort and distribute the test swabs to ensure the precious cargo could be quickly delivered to eager recipients in throughout the country.
“Folks are getting the supplies they need: the testing swabs, the [personal protective equipment], the masks—any number of items that we’re bringing in, they are getting them overnight,” Clark said moments after her plane landed last week. “We’re working so we can get answers to this pandemic and try to beat it.”
Though exhausted by this mission — and the stress that resulted from such a high-stakes operation — the team remained in good spirits thanks to the encouragement they received from both the public and private sectors.
“Everything that we’ve seen from every crew member and team member here at the [National Guard] and FedEx is a positive attitude, and that keeps us going,” Clark said.
While this was Clark’s first flight assignment of this kind, she suspects it will be just one of many upcoming undertakings between FedEx and the National Guard to support the fight against COVID-19. And having served both organizations for more than 10 years, Jami is grateful for the opportunity to do her part in the broader pandemic response.
“It’s an absolute honor and privilege that both FedEx and the [National Guard] have allowed me to be a part of these missions,” she said. “I’ve trained for it and it’s what I love to do, so it’s the ultimate honor and privilege.”
For more information about FedEx relief efforts, visit https://www.fedex.com/en-us/coronavirus/stories.html.
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