Fort Leonard Wood leadership held a virtual town hall Friday — live streamed via the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page — to answer questions and provide updates on COVID-19 prevention and response efforts.
Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, focused her remarks on praising the efforts of the mission-essential personnel continuing to work on post every day – to include drill sergeants, cadre, instructors and their families – and explained policy changes with regards to this week’s upgrade in Health Protection Condition to Charlie, which “signals an increased risk and thus increased precautions and protective measures.”
“Our nation, the state of Missouri and even our surrounding counties and cities continue to experience a pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes,” Martin said. “With our military charged to protect and defend the nation, our readiness is key, and right now, COVID-19 poses a significant risk to readiness. Protecting and informing the force are the main efforts at Fort Leonard Wood at this time.”
Some of the changes required to satisfy HPCON Charlie, include:
— Only personnel in mission essential positions – military and civilian – will report to work on Fort Leonard Wood. In addition, Martin said some positions that were not considered mission essential in the past – such as during bad weather conditions – are now required. Examples include medical, supply, transportation, child care, and emergency-response positions. Supervisors and the chain of command will notify every employee of their individual expectations, if they have not already.
— All members of the Fort Leonard Wood team will maximize staying at home. Outside of essential work obligations, teammates should leave their homes only for the necessities of daily living, such as food, sanitation, hygiene and home repairs. The Post Exchange and Commissary remain open, and on-post restaurants and food courts remain open for takeout only.
— Local leave and travel for military is limited to 60 miles or less. Any personnel in an essential position whose physical residence of record is more than 60 miles away is still permitted to travel to and from work. Civilians and family members are asked to limit travel to this distance as well; supervisors must provide counsel and advisement to civilian employees regarding travel outside the local area.
— Cabs, Lyft and Uber are suspended, as are restaurant food deliveries from off post coming on post.
— The only training to take place is Program of Instruction training with Training and Doctrine Command and Inter-Service trainees. No other tenant or non-tenant training will take place on the ranges. For those currently in basic combat training, advanced individual training and one station unit training, options for movement are still being assessed in accordance with directives from higher headquarters.
— Trainees will not visit the Commissary, and meetings outside of training are limited to 10 people properly distanced. There will be no social gatherings.
— Gyms and fitness centers are closed. Physical training continues outdoors, on trails and in PT bubbles at proper distancing – but common-use equipment is not permitted.
— Professional Military Education is now being conducted via distance learning. Anyone currently enrolled in courses may continue, and the chain of command may authorize return travel.
— Permanent changes of station remains at a stop movement. Individual situations are being looked at within chains of command and the installation.
— All gates remain open with normal hours. Non-Department of Defense beneficiaries – outside of those on official business – are now required to obtain a guest pass prior to coming on post, and those will be authorized on a case-by-case basis.
— The Child Development Centers remain open to provide childcare for mission-essential personnel.
— Services provided by Army Community Service are available by phone only.
— ID card processing remains open.
— The hospital remains open, but the focus is on emergency and acute care. Pharmacies also remain open. Entry points and appointments have changed, and that information is available on the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page – www.facebook.com/fortleonardwoodmissouri – and on the post website, at https://home.army.mil/wood. Martin reminded the community that anyone experiencing symptoms or who believes they may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 should not go to the hospital or the emergency room on post. They should call the Harper In-processing Screening Clinic at 573.596.3663.
Martin said the complete and most up-to-date list of changes can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page and on the post’s COVID-19 webpage, at https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/coronavirus.
“Use our official public information sources and help me keep everyone informed,” she said.
Martin, along with her chosen subject-matter experts, then answered some questions posed by Facebook viewers.
The first question answered regarded mail and package deliveries on post. Col. Eric Towns, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, said mail services and package delivery will continue at this time.
Towns also answered a question on the restocking of the Commissary.
“All indications are that the supply chain is back,” he said. “On a case-by-case basis, individual items may be hard to get, but we’re looking at different sources.”
Martin then added that everyone needs to look out for each other.
“Just buy what your family needs,” she said.
General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Commander Col. Kimberlie Biever also answered questions, which covered COVID-19 testing abilities here as well as medical mask supplies.
Biever said that GLWACH currently sends materials out for testing, and results return within two to four days. She also said GLWACH is well stocked with regards to masks.
“In this fight, our workforce continues to amaze me and, it is because of this team that we are winning every day,” Martin said. “Over the past four weeks, I have had the pleasure to witness one team, one fight in action. Please continue the phenomenal work you are doing in terms of being honest with yourself and others and staying at home when you are sick; continuing excellent hygiene and social distancing; and limiting contact. I appreciate your trust, your support and your teamwork as we collectively adjust operations for a COVID-19 battlefield. I know I can count on you to stand with me and this team and do your part in this challenging environment. We’re all in this together.”
Additional questions were asked during the virtual town hall and can be found by watching the video at: https://www.facebook.com/fortleonardwoodmissouri/videos/1736177639855301/.