FORT BUCHANAN, PR -- USAG Fort Buchanan Commander, Col. Joseph B. Corcoran III; Garrison Deputy Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. James K. Rowsey II; Command Sgt. Maj. José A. Banks and Deputy to the Garrison Commander Derrick W. Hood, participated in a combined face-to-face/virtual via teleconference meeting with Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) chaired by Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Fernando Fernández, president of the Installation’s Retiree Council held at the garrison’s Maj. Gen. James A. Buchanan Conference Room, November 10, 2020.The meeting, coordinated by Fort Buchanan Directorate of Human Resources, Retirement Services Officer, Miguel Aponte, provided an opportunity to share information and answer questions on access to the installation, programs and services.Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Fernández introduced the garrison commander to explain the policy on access to the installation during this COVID-19 “new reality,” Col. Corcoran started by thanking all veterans, regardless of their branch or time in service for their contributions to our nation, as we celebrate “Veterans Day.”Since COVID-19 started in March 2020, “it has been my job to make sure the community of Fort Buchanan is safe,” said Corcoran.He emphasized that he wanted to make sure all our veterans receive every entitlement they earned, “but I have to make sure Fort Buchanan is safe.” He reiterated that restrictions are in place not only to respect but also to protect our veteran’s community with preventive measures.“We are assessing the situation every day and making adjustments as we can,” said Corcoran, who added as an example the increase of 4 affiliated persons per vehicle, access to the installation from Wednesday to Saturday and extending the Borinqueneers’ gate access hours for Retirees and Veterans in the near future.“The rates of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico are increasing exponentially,” said Fort Buchanan’s commander. Therefore, the Trusted Traveler Program that allows an affiliated person to bring a non-affiliated guest to the installation is on-hold indefinitely. He also indicated that there is no plan that Fort Buchanan will be providing the vaccination against COVID-19. “DOD has not published any guidance for Service Members on this matter,” said Corcoran.Other participants in the meeting were: Director of Emergency Services, Jorge Quiñones, who explained the policy on access to the installation as well as Policy Memorandum No. 14 on Limitations on the Purchase, Possession, or Transportation of Tax-Free Alcoholic Beverages; Directorate of Human Resources, Military Personnel Division Chief, Eric J. Amaro, who informed that expired Retirees and Dependents ID cards have been extended until June 2021; Viviana Alvarado from TRICARE who invited veterans to call (787) 707-2534 to know more about the TRICARE Open Season; and Transition Assistance Program Specialist, José R. Morales, announced that Rodriguez Army Health Clinic Pharmacy schedule to pick up medicines for Retirees is now Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or call (787) 707-2052 for more information.Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Fernández introduced the new Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Banks. Col. Corcoran introduced Hood, the new Deputy to the Garrison Commander, announced Lt. Col. Rowsey’s departure from Fort Buchanan and presented his replacement Lt. Col. Brian M. Mandock, who will officially arrive at the garrison next February 2021.The meeting ended with a session of questions and answers, as well as encouraging messages from Agustín Montañez Allman, Esq., PR Veterans Advocate; Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Félix A. Santoni, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Emeritus; and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Víctor Pérez, president of the Military Order of the World Wars who commended Col. Corcoran and his staff for the preventive measures and the tremendous job to keep Fort Buchanan safe.“I am looking forward to pre-COVID-19,” said Col. Corcoran to those present and approximately 25 VSOs via teleconference, “because I miss getting together face-to-face with you. Thank you for your service, flexibility and comments. Your constructive criticism is well-received to keep Fort Buchanan safe for all members of our community,” concluded Corcoran.