1st Cav. Div. arrives in Poland while adhering to stringent COVID countermeasures
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Dmitry Pervitsky, a lead microbiologist for the 773rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (Chemical) Company, field tests for COVID-19 at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland. Pervitsky uses an Analytical Laboratory System that detects and identifies chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents and threats. The 773rd CST modified their ALS system, using the same principles successfully used in the detection of the Ebola virus, to support the identification of the novel coronavirus. (Photo Credit: Maj. Chi Truong) VIEW ORIGINAL
1st Cav. Div. arrives in Poland while adhering to stringent COVID countermeasures
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Matthew Murphy, a combat medic from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division tests Spc. Riccardo Franceschi from the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry, 2ABCT, 3ID for coronavirus in preparation for the Defender Europe 20 exercise at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland. All Soldiers are held at the testing site until the microbiologist for the 773rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (Chemical) Company tests the samples for COVID. (Photo Credit: Spc. Jose Escamilla) VIEW ORIGINAL

The relationships forged with European allies and partners over the past seven decades are built on a foundation of shared values, experiences, and trust. As the 1st Cavalry Division Forward arrived in Poland to take over as the Mission Command Element for Atlantic Resolve, they’ve also taken every precaution to ensure they are protecting host nations from the spread of COVID-19.

The First Team’s efforts to stay ahead of COVID-19 started back at home in Texas, but have also continued in Poland, and encompass more than just Fort Hood Soldiers.

“Before we left, every Soldier had a mandatory 14-day home quarantine at Fort Hood, as well as a COVID-19 test four days before flying,” said Maj. William Gehlen, 1CD FWD surgeon.

The team travelled on a plane large enough for them to adhere to social distancing during the flight. Then all 1CD FWD Soldiers received a second COVID-19 test upon arrival in-country. Once the team was notified the entire group had tested negative, they moved on to Poznan where the MCE headquarters is located.

Once the First Team had made sure all their Troopers were safe from COVID-19, they turned their attention to the training audience entering the country. To ensure the training environment stays safe for all service members involved in Defender 20+, COVID-19 testing for all personnel living at Drawsko Pomorski Training Area will occur as well as a third test for the 1CD FWD personnel who travel back to DPTA for the exercise. So far each Soldier has seen negative results from the tests.

“Our reference document for navigating Defender 20+ is the 7th Army Training Command COVID playbook,” said Maj. Gehlen. “This includes many additional measures to keep our troops safe during exercises.”

These additional measures include checkpoints at every base with COVID screenings, limited use of off-post facilities, and limited seating in dining facilities to ensure proper social distancing is maintained.

“The goal is to not only keep our Soldiers safe from COVID, but the population of Poland as well,” said Gehlen. “We aren’t having a lot of interaction with them right now as an additional preventative measure, and ensuring it doesn’t spread helps beat COVID faster.”