FORT BENNING, Ga. – Army senior leaders are visiting the installation to see how Maneuver Center of Excellence leaders mitigate risk to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to train.
One of the first visitors was Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, MCoE’s higher headquarters. During his visit, he met Capt. Megan Bridges, a chemical corps officer who is the commander of C Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
She briefed the general on company-level COVID-19 mitigation measures while running basic Airborne classes.
“Our high-risk population isn’t our students because they have been quarantined before coming here,” explained Bridges. The cadre is the biggest high-risk population because they go home at the end of the duty day.
“I wanted him to understand how I was protecting the students from the cadre and how I was protecting the cadre’s family from the service members who come to work every day.”
She explained the company’s decontamination procedures: cadre arrive at work in civilian clothes, answer the screening questions, decontaminate with a hot shower and antimicrobial soap and dress in the day’s duty uniform. At the end of the day, cadre repeat the process of hot shower with antimicrobial soap then dressing in their civilian clothes to go home.
Daily screening includes health questions, taking temperatures if necessary and an instant seven-day isolation at home if not feeling well. Pending no symptoms, they can come back to work, said Bridges, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“I could ramble on for days on what we’re doing with Coronavirus at the company level,” she said. “But I think (Funk) appreciated the pinpoint of what really mattered: Students’ health and safety and family health and safety for the cadre.”
The general seemed to be impressed that Bridges, a chemical officer, volunteered for assignment to the MCoE, she said.
“He said, ‘Someone needs to document this. I’ve never given a chemical officer a coin.’”
While at the captain’s career course at Fort Leonard Wood, Bridges said she chose Fort Benning’s Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade for her next assignment because of the schools here.
“As a chemical officer, I would never get Airborne,” she said crediting Human Resources Command’s Active Duty Officer Assignment Interactive Module for matching officer talents with unit requirements.