The Fort Campbell Garrison has been fully employed and engaged during this COVID-19 crisis. We never stopped working or providing services to those we support. Here are a few highlights of which the entire workforce can be proud:
• Kalsu Replacement Company has received more than 400 Advanced Individual Training Soldiers, completed their in-processing on a condensed three- to four-day timeline and safely transferred them to their units, all the while abiding by social distancing restrictions.
• Morale, Welfare and Recreation continues their brown bag crafts distribution, the latest event giving away 500 bags May 8 for Mother’s Day. Bags included craft supplies, activities, popcorn, and MWR-To-Go menus.
• We’ve worked hard to keep everyone informed. We hosted our 11th COVID-19 Facebook Town Hall. We’ve discussed the topics that matter to our Fort Campbell community. All of our directorates participate in preparation and in answering questions. A special thanks, however, to the Garrison Public Affairs team who work tirelessly every day to update frequently asked questions, share the good news stories and inform everyone about changes and updates.
• The Directorate of Public Works maintains a consistently high pace to prepare facilities for occupation, fix problems around the installation, close out work orders and improve the living conditions for our quarantine and isolation population.
• MWR has done a tremendous job preparing child development centers for reopening, preparing the facilities and contacting every parent regarding the status of their child’s enrollment, even assisting those who no longer can use the CDC with finding alternative sources of child care.
• The legal assistance office has completed four adoptions, prevented eight service members from being evicted from their homes and conducted more than 200 virtual appointments with clients.
• Besides keeping us safe every day and providing the commanding general with the information he needs to make good decisions, the Directorate of Emergency Services has taken advantage of the crisis by hiring Department of the Army security guards, almost reaching their 110% hiring goal.
• Our training team worked at a dizzying pace to quickly prepare ranges and training areas for our units. They prepared ahead of the requirement because they never lost their situational awareness.
• And, of course, our operations team maintains situational awareness and synchronizes our COVID-19 response daily.
I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished in our effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on Fort Campbell. Our numbers of positive cases continue to remain low and that is in large part because of what you do each day to keep yourself and your Families safe, as well as what you do as members of our workforce. We’ve been in the fight more than 60 days. It’s far from over, but you’ve proven that we can continue to beat this if we remain vigilant and stay the course together.
I want you to know that your hard work has not gone unnoticed. From the medical teams and first responders, to the maintenance crew and child care providers, and especially those of you who continue to provide virtual services while in telework status – you all continue to serve and make a difference each day. You matter. You are the reason that Fort Campbell leads the way in so many areas, and the COVID-19 situation is no different.
Although we remain at HPCON-C with mission essential manning still in place, you are already seeing signs that some services are resuming. Similar to our surrounding communities, we are “uncoiling” from our current COVID-19 position safely and responsibly. We are moving in this direction in a deliberate manner, and are closely aligned with our community partners. To this point, we have largely maintained alignment with both Tennessee and Kentucky, but we have our own Army requirements that may take us in slightly different directions or adjust at a different pace.
Soldier readiness remains our top priority and you haven’t let that mission fail. The services themselves and why we provide them has not changed, but the “how” may change. My responsibility to you is to ensure you work in as safe an environment as possible. Every time we open a facility or service, it is a deliberate process informed by appropriate experts, including fire, safety, preventive medicine, public works, and food services. Based on the results of these inspections we fix deficiencies, modify operating procedures, and finalize preparations for opening. I rely on you to understand the changes, pay attention to pre-opening training, and effectively implement all measures to protect you and our customers.
Each of you play a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. As you begin to settle back into your work environment, I caution you to resist the urge to relax personal safety measures. If you’re sick, stay home. Wear a cloth face mask whenever you cannot maintain a 6-foot distance from another individual. Social distancing will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Avoid large crowds and keep gatherings to groups of 10 or less. Staying home whenever possible should be our mindset. Follow good hygiene practices – wash hands often and sanitize frequently touched surfaces regularly. Make good decisions not only for you and your Family, but for the greater Fort Campbell community as well.
Garrison operations are resuming, but they will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels. There will be a new normal. We know what some of that looks like, but not all of it. We rely on bottom-up feedback to posture us for the future. If you have an idea on how to improve safety or the quality of service in this environment, please speak up.
There are many challenges still ahead of us. We have to continue to be innovative. We’re not looking back to the way things were. Stick with the improvements you’ve made. Where we are operating more efficiently, let’s solidify those changes and where we can improve, let’s take advantage of the opportunity in our COVID-19 environment to find better ways to provide our services.
Although there will be a new normal, this is temporary. We will get through this together. Look out for each other. Supervisors are the key to uncoiling – remain involved, vigilant and caring. Resuming Garrison operations will be hard and you won’t always like the hard decisions that have to be made during a crisis like this. I ask that, although you may not agree, at least try to understand why decisions are made. We make the best decisions possible given some really hard circumstances. Thank you for your dedicated service.