Quarantines, social distancing measures and virtual ceremonies are among the hallmarks of pre– and post–deployment during a pandemic.
The Army announced its latest round of deployments in April through a series of press releases posted to the service’s website. Units slated for deployment to various worldwide operations include 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters and the 4th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
While soldiers are no strangers to deployment, doing so in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be different than what they’re used to, according U.S. Army spokesperson Cheryle Rivas. The Army has a number of pre– and post–deployment protective measures in place to ensure the safety of service members and their families, Rivas said in an e-mail.
“First and foremost, our number-one priority is protecting the health and welfare of our greatest assets — our soldiers, families and [Department of the Army] civilians,” Rivas said. “The Army has policies and procedures that will give installation commanders the flexibility on how best to protect the health of their service members and mitigate potential spread of the virus.”
Rivas said pre-deployment operations such as soldier readiness processing — a series of medical and administrative tasks conducted to prepare for deployment — will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. This includes social distancing measures.
Ceremonies such as color casings and redeployments will be conducted only in groups of 10 or less with participants at least six feet apart. The ceremonies may be conducted virtually.
Soldiers returning from overseas deployments will complete pre- and post-deployment quarantines. Specifically, Rivas said, there is an Army-mandated 14-day quarantine for soldiers returning from countries the CDC has designated “Level 2” or above. Level 2, according to the CDC website, includes countries in which there is “ongoing community transmission.” For family members and Department of Defense civilians returning from countries designated Level 2 or above, the Army recommends a 14-day self-quarantine as well.
Rivas says the measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus will not affect readiness.
“The Army remains ready to respond globally to any adversarial threat. Commanders are ensuring our formations, including equipment, stay ready in this time of crisis while adhering to CDC and DOD guidelines regarding safety and social distancing,” she said. “Proactive protective measures have been taken to remind those across Army commands to adhere to the guidelines outlined by the CDC to avoid contracting or spreading respiratory illnesses like the flu or COVID-19. We remain ready to fight tonight and to meet any challenge directly and with force.”Read comments