U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford “Beags” Beagle Jr. hosted his bi-weekly virtual town hall July 2. The town hall was one of two held during the week to keep the Fort Jackson community and extended Family informed on installation operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.Beagle opened the town hall by welcoming virtual attendees and introducing his new “Ranger Buddy.”“For many, many town halls you have seen Command Sgt. Maj. Gan. Now I have Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier,” Beagle said. “He’s my new “Ranger Buddy.”As one of his first official duties as Fort Jackson’s post command sergeant major, Tavernier gave the opening remarks for the virtual town hall.“My wife and I are truly humbled and honored to join this magnificent team,” Tavernier said. He added jokingly, “This is my first town hall so take it easy one me with the questions. However, I will do my best to answer any questions you throw my way.”Tavernier continued the tradition set in previous town halls of welcoming and thanking various virtual attendees.As Beagle transitioned from introducing Tavernier to the virtual Fort Jackson community, he announced changes in the past 14 days.“If it’s blue, it’s new,” Beagle said as he narrated slides showing changes. “So there’s only one thing up here for this week in blue is related to us locally.”The city of Columbia, South Carolina, issued a mandatory face mask order June 24. The order requires everyone to wear a face mask or cloth face covering to enter public buildings, while utilizing public or private transportation, or in outdoor public areas where social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained. West Columbia, Irmo and Lexington have also passed mask wearing ordinances.Fort Jackson Garrison Commander Col. John “Wes” Hankins also sat on the town hall panel to co-announce the re-opening of community playgrounds to children. In previous town halls, attendees had asked if community playgrounds could reopen if Families volunteered to clean the play equipment.After Hankins and Beagle spoke, they agreed to re-open playgrounds though the announcement came with a strong warning.“We all need to be responsible to take care of not only your kids, but being mindful of other people bringing their kids,” Beagle said. “As always, if things start going sideways, I will rescind that order.”Moncrief Army Health Clinic’s Preventative Medicine Chief Col. Paul Kwon joined the town hall to remind the Fort Jackson community to remain vigilant as COVID-19 numbers rise across South Carolina.Kwon attributed the relaxed restrictions, re-opening of restaurants and public spaces, and increase in virus testing for the recent increase in COVID-19 positive cases. Kwon wanted to remind installation personnel to continue to practice good hand washing habits, avoid large gatherings, wearing of masks or cloth face covering, and practice social distancing.“If you are sick, stay at home,” Kwon said.The combined efforts of everyone to follow these practices will help to “flatten the curve,” Kwon said.“Even though there is quarantine fatigue, mask and behavior fatigue,” Beagle said. “We need and require you to do the right thing.”Beagle next spoke about the installation hosting a drive through COVID-19 testing site. The site was open to Department of Defense ID card holders July 8 and again July 10.Testing was provided by the Medical University of South Carolina in the parking area in front of the Palmetto Falls Water Park.“We have worked closely with the Medical University of South Carolina to enable drive-through testing on our installation,” Hankins said. “The testing will be free of charge but you will be asked for insurance. If you do not have insurance, the test will still be free of charge.”Hankins said the test will be conducted with a nose swab and results will be available within five to seven days. He added 850 people can be tested each day.“We have to protect our force to protect our mission,” Beagle added. “Our nation counts on us to do what we do.”The town hall came to a close with the panel conducting the “Fast 40” segment where attendees were able to ask questions and make suggestions directly to the leadership team.One question asked was, “Are trainees given any vaccines when the first arrive? If so, are they given the flu vaccine? Studies are now showing that the flu vaccine is causing false-positives for the COVID test.”“There is always information out there that is unknown, but there are no peer-reviewed journals stating there will be any false-positive rates for testing on flu vaccine,” Kwon replied. “We are already planning for flu season and keeping our population safe.”Beagle closed the town hall by encouraging attendees to share the information they have learned with others and to tune into the next virtual town hall.“Thank you for allowing us to inform you,” Beagle said. “Thank you for sharing this information. Please hit that share button when you’re signing off. I wish all of you a safe weekend. Victory … Starts Here.”