FORT HOOD, TX – It’s not every day that a Soldier’s duty location is their barracks room. But as this is the new norm while the nation battles COVID-19, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf,” 1st Cavalry Division, made adjustments to protect the force and take care of Soldiers.
When the stop movement order was given by the Department of Defense on March 16, Greywolf had approximately 3,000 Troopers spread across the nation on block leave. Some in known areas of higher rate of infections or “hotspots," and some in locations where the virus had not spread nearly as bad. Regardless of their location, the brigade came together and figured how best to mitigate the risk for those Soldiers. The first of which was a detailed screening process to determine a Soldier’s location, whether the Soldier had been to a hot spot or not. They were then placed in either a 5-day restricted movement or 14-day quarantine.
“It’s important because our unit had just gotten back from two weeks of leave,” said Spc Alyssa Sarandos, an armor crewman from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3ABCT. “So we put soldiers that were in high risk areas in quarantine in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
Next, Greywolf had to consider the challenges of meeting the basic needs for over 800 Soldiers who were quarantined and live in the barracks.
“It’s important for one to ensure our unit’s readiness and to help out the entire population,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Cortez, 1-12 CAV, 3ABCT. “We want to make sure the quarantined Soldiers are properly being taken care of and contained in their rooms in case they did contract the virus so we are not spreading it out not just within our formation, but into the population as well.”
The OIF dining facility, which is run by Greywolf, is working overtime shifts while still maintaining the Army’s guidance on providing mission essential services and encouraging social distancing guidelines by providing hot meals three times a day to be delivered to each Soldier in quarantine.
“The unit is currently doing a great job, getting as much information as we can on a day-to-day basis,” said Cortez.
Leaders across the brigade are making sure Greywolf troopers are cared for and fed. Some even taking it upon themselves to go the little extra mile to care for their Soldiers who are quarantined in the barracks or in a home.
Sgt 1st Class David Gulas, the senior information systems administrator for Greywolf spends his own time and money to provide home cooked meals for Soldiers in the brigade.
“I enjoy cooking and I am providing essentials to those families that have requested it,” he said. “Most families are living paycheck to paycheck and with cut hours, I know there are some who may need help and I am fortunate enough to be able to do so.”
The situation is definitely a unique one that the brigade will continue to combat.
“Now you have a situation where you have kids home and Soldiers home and not going anywhere,” Gulas said. “I help because I know it is stressful to everyone.”
The Greywolf brigade is implementing guidance from the Army and the federal government to protect the force so that the brigade is ready to protect the nation if called upon.