As Fort Jackson fights through COVID-19, we are learning some great new lessons and we are also re-learning many old lessons that are just as important. From the beginning of this pandemic and based on our approach and focus on prevention, detection and containment, we are doing extremely well in this fight.From the beginning, priority #1 has been to protect the force in order to protect our mission. After all, the Army will keep rolling along and we knew early on that this would remain a valid fact and not an assumption. We continue to train in what is now known as the “Social Distance Training Environment” or SDTE. As of this article, we’ve shipped over 2,000 new Soldiers to their Advanced Individual Training locations without further proliferating the spread of COVID-19. Our Fort Jackson team led this charge and conducted the first pilot of ensuring secure, sterile and safe ground transportation from one installation to another. This opened the door for other installations to garner approval to execute and initiate actions to ship Soldiers from AIT to First Unit of Assignment locations. The next goal will be the successful execution and demonstration that we can ship Soldiers by air transportation to other distant locations in the same safe, sterile and secure manner.Prior to COVID-19, our cadre and leaders conducted “ship operations” every Friday like clockwork and mostly transparent to the rest of the installation. We are learning that normal “ain’t” normal anymore but somethings remain routine. The only difference now is that in everything that we do, the objective is to protect the force while simultaneously preventing the spread of COVID-19. This is easier said than done, but we have learned that it can be done when our entire team is engaged, focused and vigilant.We’ve learned that prevention is primarily about a change in behaviors, attitudes and habits. Again, another thing that is easier said than done. Nonetheless, we are learning that old habits, behaviors and attitudes are hard to break. In addition, compliance or lack thereof is another threat that we face.Throughout our workforce and community, we are re-learning that it takes discipline, compliance and a change of behavior, attitudes and habits to defeat a threat, especially one that you can’t see, hear or smell like COVID-19. We are social creatures by our nature which makes social distance a hard thing to do. Many if not most, don’t like change, but we are learning that our ability to change actually works. The personal courage that it takes to admit signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at an individual level goes a long way to help us win this fight. Ensuring that we protect our workforce by placing as many people as possible in a telework status and yet more in a “reserve” status is truly teaching us what can be done with less. It is disproving the adage of “do more with less,” it is proving that we can do less with less, but do it better and at a high level. This doesn’t mean we don’t need the entire workforce that we have, it simply means that we are learning how to adapt, prioritize and remain flexible in order to execute our mission without a loss of consistency.Like with many things unknown, we are re-learning just how much fear, anxiety and stress come with dealing with the unknown. No one knows when we will again regain normalcy or how long it will take. This creates a lot of anxiety, fear and stress within our workforce and community. The output of this is attitudes and behaviors that simply aren’t helpful. Misinformation, the fomenting of rumor and mistreatment of others are the key outputs of fear when dealing uncertainty. I’ve received firsthand accounts from our security guards about being cursed at the gate by people for things that they truly do not control but they are our first line of defense to enforce standards. We constantly see or hear misinformation and dissent being spread within our workforce and community for no apparent reason other than to unite misery with company. Our main weapon against this is to continually inform our workforce, community and even our local community. Being fearful of an unknown is a dark place to be, but information is our light. We have multiple means and methods of disseminating information (social media, apps, print media, town halls, etc.). The speed of change in the COVID-19 environment is rapid. We remain committed to keeping up with the speed of change through our information. As we keep up this pace, we are learning that the shelf life of information is 24-hrs or less. This is starting to get better over time, but the best way to reduce fear, anxiety and stress is to stay informed.There are a lot of things that we (as a nation and a global world) do not understand about this pandemic. But we must remember that thousands of people are losing their lives daily and that we all have a role to play in stopping the spread. We are re-learning that this pandemic is a “we” thing and not a “me” thing. If we all do our part and learn the right lessons, the sooner we can get back to normal or potentially adapt to a new normal. We must also remember that a lesson learned is only a lesson noted until we change behavior.We are learning that our workforce and community are resilient and agile. Drill Sergeants have and are adjusting to training our newest generation of Soldiers under some very tough and risky conditions. Our civilians are creating innovative ways to accomplish a myriad of things and things that we would never have thought possible or imagined just 45 days ago. Our NCO Club does call in and delivery orders, our seamstresses that only tailored Army Service Uniforms recently re-purposed their efforts to produce face coverings for Soldiers and the workforce. Meetings that were once thought only possible in person are now being conducted via teleconference or video conference…they are much shorter also! We are in uncharted waters but we must never lose sight of the great things that our team is doing and the many sacrifices that many are enduring as we weather this storm.As some final points and perspectives, I would ask all of you to reflect, think about and do some critically important but simple things until we finally defeat this threat:1. Stay informed. Make every effort to keep yourself up to date and informed from multiple sources. Help inform others or point them to venues to get accurate information.2. Reach out to someone that you normally wouldn’t think about checking on. These times are stressful to most, but to know that someone cares goes a long way to reduce anxiety and uncertainty.3. Do your part. Help prevent the spread by following and adhering to all CDC, local and FT Jackson guidelines.4. Ask yourself, “What am I learning or re-learning because of this pandemic?” More importantly, ask yourself what will you do differently as a result of what you have learned or re-learned.We will get through this and will be better for it. One Team, One Fight and One Family!Victory! Starts Here!