143D ESC COVID-19 DAILY UPDATES

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Memorial Day 2020

  • Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, represents a day of national awareness and reverence. It is honoring the military men and women who gave their lives in defense of the nation and its values. 
  • It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War Soldiers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, commander-in-chief, Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day by General Order No. 11. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May. The law took effect in 1971 at the federal level. 
  • In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. This annual event asks Americans wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to pause for one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.

Fallen Service Members Honored at 152nd National Memorial Day Observance

2020 National Memorial Day Concert

  • America's national night of remembrance featured new appearances and performances by distinguished American statesman General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret); Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, Cynthia Erivo; world-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano superstar Renée Fleming; many more and a special message from General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Richard Wilson serves as a truck driver (88M) for the 846th Transportation Company out of Salisbury, N.C. In his civilian capacity, he is a freight operation supervisor for a global logistics provider in Hickory, N.C.

"I work for the largest logistics company in North America, and we're responsible for shipping all kinds of goods to people all over the country," Wilson expressed with gratitude for the ability to be still working and providing for his loved ones. 

When asked how he and his family are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson shared how "everything is business as usual, we're all adapting to this pandemic and trying to do our best."

"Day-to-day, I focus my energy on servicing my customers. But when I'm not working, I spend as much time as I can with my family."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Mission Continues is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit that empowers veterans to continue their service, and empowers communities with veteran talent, skills, and preparedness to generate visible impact.

Veterans possess the drive and desire to serve others, but without access to the tools needed, their potential to make a meaningful impact at the local level remains untapped. On the other end of the spectrum growing numbers of communities in this country are under-resourced and being left behind.

The Mission Continues is on a mission to connect veterans with under-resourced communities


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: What temperature kills the virus that causes COVID-19?

Answer:  Generally coronaviruses survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point. The necessary temperature would also be based on the materials of the surface, the environment, etc. Regardless of temperature please follow CDC’s guidance for cleaning and disinfection.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

  • May 18 - Validate and Certify Your ARB. It is advised that Soldiers continue to validate and certify their Automated Record Brief (ARB) to maintain their personnel records for promotion and career opportunities.

  • May 19 - Army Reserve Pay. Did you know that Army Reserve Soldiers may qualify for a bonus when they enlisting or reenlist in the Army Reserve? Each bonus has specific eligibility and payment rules. For more information, visit the Army Reserve Pay site.

  • May 20 - COVID-19: 30-day Update. Chief of Army Reserve. Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, provides an update on the efforts U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers have made in supporting U.S. Army North in the fight against COVID-19. 

  • May 21 - COVID-19 Response: 377th Theater Sustainment Command. Follow our 143d ESC Soldiers mobilized with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command in response to COVID-19.

  • May 22 - Memorial Day Weekend During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Brig. Gen. Pamela McGaha, commanding general, 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) sends her Memorial Day message to the field.

Memorial Day Weekend During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • This Memorial Day weekend will be quite different from previous years as we honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. Parades throughout the nation are canceled, there are limitations to gatherings at memorial services, and strict guidelines when visiting local veteran cemeteries.

  • Despite the restrictions, there are many other ways to honor our service members. Tune in to a virtual Memorial Day event, raise your American flag at your home, or share a photo of a beloved fallen service member.

  • Brig. Gen. Pamela McGaha, commander general, 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) sends her Memorial Day message to the field.

My COVID-19 Story

Hurricane Preparedness: Assembling Disaster Supplies

  • You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy  and unpleasant aftermath. 

  • Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of three days. 

  • Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. 

  • The CDC recommends if you need to go to a public shelter, bring at least two cloth face coverings for each person and, if possible, hand sanitizer. (Children under two years old and people having trouble breathing should not wear face coverings).

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Aneisha Rowe serves as a unit supply specialist (92Y) for the 518th Sustainment Brigade in Knightdale N.C. In her civilian capacity, she is a correctional officer in Roanoke, Va. 

As a corrections officer, Rowe is an essential worker, so her daily schedule is the same. However, it has been an adjustment for her family. "There have been limited social activities, stressful homeschooling, and conducting any business such as shopping is difficult as they are quarantined and have curfews. For me, it is business as usual because I am considered as an essential worker. On the brighter side, it encourages more family time for bonding and more activities with the kids," Rowe said.

"Due to social distancing and travel restrictions, my family and I have resorted to contact each other via video conference platforms. My unit has adapted very well as we have been conducting virtual drills. Sustain the attack!"

Rowe said she's staying resilient by doing home exercises, relaxing, meditating, and practicing her faith. "Stay Strong! We got this! Let us continue to pray because this, too, shall pass.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Southwest Veterans' Business Resource Center, Inc., (SWVBRC) works with communities and businesses to serve Veterans, Active Duty members, and Spouses through outreach and education programs.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Can I get sick with COVID-19 if it's on food?

Answer:  Based on information about this novel coronavirus thus far, it seems unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food – additional investigation is needed.

COVID-19 Response: 377th Theater Sustainment Command 

23 New Drive-Thru Test Sites in Georgia

  • Governor Brian P. Kemp joined CVS Health to announce the launch of new COVID-19 testing sites in Georgia.

  • Friday, May 22, CVS Health will open 23 new COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across the state. 

Memorial Day Events

  • With the widespread pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, most cities and states may cancel Memorial Day events, including parades, rallies, concerts, races, and ceremonies. Check your local cities for Memorial Day events that may still happen virtually. 

Hurricane Preparedness: Evacuation Plan

  • The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Reference the maps of evacuation zones courtesy of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

  • If you do, now is the time to begin planning where you would go and how you would get there. 

  • As hurricane season approaches, listen to local officials on questions related to how you may need to adjust any evacuation plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Ashley Pickard serves as a patient administration specialist (68G) for the 518th Sustainment Brigade in Knightdale, N.C. In her civilian capacity, she is a police officer in Apex, N.C.

As a first responder, Pickard is continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve adapted to the changes by wearing a mask on 911 calls, I respond to them and increase my sanitation methods with my uniforms and gear after each shift. My family and I have been self-isolating when possible, and have avoided extra trips out in public,” Pickard said.

Pickard also has two dogs, and she says they have made the struggles of quarantine easier. “I’ve been taking advantage of my extra free time by spending more time with my family and giving extra hugs to my pups.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Army Reserve Psychological Health Program assists individual Soldiers to achieve optimum behavioral health. We do this by connecting geographically dispersed Soldiers and Family members with the resources they need to address behavioral health concerns. The readiness of the force depends upon the strength and resilience of every soldier.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Why do the number of cases for previous days increase?

Answer:  Delays in reporting can cause the number of COVID-19 cases reported on previous days to increase. (Sometimes this effect is described as “backfill.”) State, local, and territorial health departments report the number of cases that have been confirmed and share these data with CDC. Since it takes time to conduct laboratory testing, cases from a previous day may be added to the daily counts a few days late.

COVID-19: 30-day update by Chief of Army Reserve

  • Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, provides an update on the efforts U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers have made in supporting U.S. Army North in the fight against COVID-19. 

  • He discusses the important impact that Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UMTFs) have had since they first mobilized a month ago.

The Department of Defense Launches MiLSpouse Money Mission 

  • The DoD Office of Financial Readiness launched MilSpouse Money Mission, a website designed by and for military spouses, providing free financial education and resources for spouses of all services.

ADPAAS: Report Soldier and Family Safety

  • The U.S. Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS) is a tool used by the 143d ESC to account and monitor the recovery process for Soldiers and their Families affected and/or scattered by a wide-spread catastrophic event.

  • Accessing ADPAAS does not require a CAC.  Soldiers will report current status for themselves and their Family members (if applicable). 

  • If you identify in ADPAAS of needing support services, the closest Family Programs office is notified and will contact you to provide assistance.

46th Annual Emergency Medical Services Week 

  • We want to send an extra special thanks for all Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight during National EMS Week!

  • In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Master Sgt. Robert Cardines serves as a combat medic (68W) and an equal opportunity representative for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, he is the full-time health readiness coordinator for the 641st Regional Support Group (RSG) in Saint Petersburg, Fla.

Cardines shared how the 641st RSG monitors the condition of Soldiers and provides guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We try to be cautious and wear masks when we go out, and we’re teleworking from home. It’s understandable to be anxious, but what many people don’t realize is that it could have been a lot worse.”

The COVID-19 shutdown has affected many people to include Cardines and his family. “The person in my family affected most by this shutdown is my daughter, who is graduating this year. It’s disappointing to her as well as us to miss out on such an important milestone. More than anything, she misses her friends, which shows that even in this day and age of cell phones and social media, young people still crave connection.”

“Now more than ever, it’s important to keep in contact with your Soldiers. Not only that, but parents, children, friends, and neighbors. It does make a difference in calling and checking up on someone for five to ten minutes, especially the elderly. They’re isolated and the most at risk. We have to look out for each other. Our faith has been a big motivator for my family and me, and every morning I say a brief prayer for the day. The quality time I get to spend with my wife and daughter has been the biggest blessing to come out of this shutdown.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS) provides assistance to those persons experiencing service connected problems with their civilian employment and provides information about Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment (USERRA) to employers. VETS also assists veterans who have questions regarding Veterans' Preference.

For more information and to determine whether your USERRA rights have been violated, please visit the USERRA Advisor.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Why do some state’s COVID-19 case numbers sometimes differ from what is posted on the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website?

Answer: The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s overall case numbers are validated through a confirmation process with jurisdictions. The process used for finding and confirming cases displayed by different places may differ.

Virtual Financial Training

  • Join the virtual financial training with Ms. Paula Mucci, AFC, Personnel Financial Counselor.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 3 p.m.: Retirement Planning Starter - Blended Retirement System and  Thrift Savings Plan. Learn about principal concepts of saving and investing, maximize matching contributions to TSP accounts, make contributions from multiple income sources other than basic pay, and manage the distribution of funds in TSP accounts.

  • Thursday, May 21, 6 p.m.: Stretching Your Money. Learn about responsible money habits, savings strategies, and tax deductions.

  • Friday, May 22, 2 p.m.: Paying For College. Learn about funding higher education, financial aid resources, and college savings plans.

Army Reserve Pay

  • As Troop Program Unit Soldiers, it is important to understand how and when you get paid. 

  • There are several factors that determine a Soldier’s pay entitlements. Some of these factors are type, length, and location of the duty. 

  • Did you know that Army Reserve Soldiers may qualify for a bonus when they enlisting or reenlist in the Army Reserve. Each bonus has specific eligibility and payment rules.

  • For more information, visit the Army Reserve Pay site.

Hurricane Preparedness: Insurance

  • Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. 

  • Remember, standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it, and it’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Maj. Shawndora Seabrook-Cooper is a senior human resources officer (42H) serving as the Active Guard Reserve S3 operations officer for the 207th Regional Support Group (RSG) in Fort Jackson, S.C.

The 207th RSG, like many Army Reserve units, have transitioned to teleworking., Seabrook-Cooper manages all of her duties from home and maintains communication with 207th RSG Soldiers, "by checking up on them and making sure that they're good to go. We have a unit downrange, and it's especially important to keep in contact with them."

Since the COVID-19 shutdown, Seabrook-Cooper and her husband have adapted with their three children to their home environment. "My children had to adjust to homeschooling and learn how to work in the same vicinity of each other. I often have to remind them that during the workday, they should only call on me when they need me. Because just like when they're in school, I'm not there to help them with every little thing. I am truly grateful to teachers because it is not an easy job. I do my best to educate my kids on the seriousness of the situation, why they can't go to school, and the importance of washing their hands and staying clean," Seabrook-Cooper shared.

Despite all the challenges Seabrook-Cooper's family is overcoming, she shared how "one good thing to come out of this is quality bonding time with my kids. We've been cooking healthy meals together, having movie nights, and watching church online. We're staying active, going for bike rides, and following YouTube exercise videos. It's been different, but there's good and bad in everything, and you just have to find the good stuff."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Occasionally, military families struggle and need help with rent or mortgage payments, major repairs, utility bills, or groceries. 

Operation Homefront has fulfilled over 44,000 requests from military families across the U.S., providing more than $28 million in relief through our Critical Financial Assistance program. At Operation Homefront, 91 percent of expenditures go toward delivering our programs and services.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

Answer: People can fight stigma by providing social support in situations where you notice this is occurring. Stigma affects the emotional or mental health of stigmatized groups and the communities they live in. Stopping stigma is important to making communities and community members resilient. See resources on mental health and coping during COVID-19. Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts and sharing them with others in your community.

Validate and Certify Your ARB

  • It is advised that Soldiers continue to validate and certify their Automated Record Brief (ARB) to maintain their personnel records for promotion and career opportunities.

  • The Electronic Soldier Record Brief Subsystem (eSRB) Automated Record Brief (ARB) product produces a standardized personnel record for Enlisted Soldiers, Warrant Officers and Officers.

  • Check your ARB today! You will need your common access card (CAC) to log in. 

Hurricane Season

  • Be ready for hurricane season. Today you can determine your personal hurricane risk, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and review/update insurance policies. You may need to adjust any preparedness actions based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.

  • Make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, you are encouraged to complete these simple preparations before the hurricane season begins on June 1.

National Hurricane Center Webinar for 4th, 5th, and 6th Graders

  • With all of us learning and working from home, the National Hurricane Center is conducting webinars about hurricanes for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders living in the U.S. and other countries that are vulnerable to hurricanes. 

  • Register for the webinars that will focus on the job of a meteorologist, the weather hazards that come with hurricanes, and how meteorologists get you the weather information you need before a storm.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Maj. Michael Lee serves as an Active Guard Reserve logistics officer (90A) for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) (ESC) in Orlando, Fla. Currently, he is mobilized with the 4th ESC at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Serving as the Chief of Operations for the 4th ESC, Lee shared how the command has a significant role in the COVID-19 response, "The 4th ESC has recently taken responsibility for the joint operation area (JOA) of the 3rd ESC on the east coast. So now, not only do they own the Central JOA, but they also own the Eastern JOA, so there's a lot to be managed. The 4th ESC is providing sustainment to Active Duty and Reserve Soldiers that are in support of COVID-19 and other government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."

Performing 24-hour operations with minimal time for rest and recuperation, Lee and his wife are staying resilient, taking it one day at a time. "COVID-19 stops for no one. People are counting on what we do here," Lee said.

Lee discussed challenges his family faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, "We've had to deal with the process of moving our household across state lines during this shutdown. The COVID-19 shutdown has made that process difficult. Here in San Antonio, things are starting to open back up, but on base, we're continuing to wear our masks and social distance ourselves. I'm actually glad precautions are more strict on base than off base, because it makes us feel safer. You never know who can have it."

Lee said the best thing to do is slow down. "Understand that COVID-19 isn't going anywhere. The saying that slow is smooth, smooth is fast, becomes very prevalent in times like this. We can't rush it. Protecting your family is what's most important."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The coronavirus crisis is affecting us in many ways, from canceled trips to lost jobs to closed businesses.

If you’ve been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis and are struggling to make payments on your credit cards, you may be wondering what type of relief credit card companies are offering to their cardholders.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Can people who recover from COVID-19 be re-infected with SARS-CoV-2?

Answer: The immune response, including duration of immunity, to SARS-CoV-2 infection is not yet understood. Patients with MERS-CoV are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

  • May 11 - 2020 Summer Annual Training Update. This summer’s annual training may be very different. Not all, but some units may shift this year’s annual training towards individual tasks due to COVID-19 DoD guidance limiting travel and capacity. Check with your chain of command for your unit’s annual training plans.

  • May 12 - Medical and Dental Appointments through LHI.care. Have you checked your medical and dental readiness? If you’re within 90 days from your annual medical and dental readiness, it’s time to schedule your medical and dental appointments through LHI.care.

  • May 13 - Army Credentialing Opportunities. Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) helps Soldiers find information on certifications and licenses related to their jobs and civilian careers. 

  • May 14 - Sustaining Victory Behind the Mask. We invite Soldiers, Civilians, and Family members to email the 143d ESC Public Affairs Office with a photo of you wearing your mask at usarmy.usarc.143-esc.list.pao@mail.mil.

  • May 15 - We Will Persevere. General (Retired) Martin Dempsey, 37th Chief of Staff of the Army, joined the U.S. Army band to perform a song inspired by America's resiliency during COVID-19.

We Will Persevere

Peace Officers Memorial Day

  • In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. 

  • As a mark of respect honoring peace officers day, and during police week, we acknowledge the incredible service and sacrifices law enforcement personnel make each day for their fellow Americans.

International Family Day

  • The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year, providing an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

  • The U.S. Army Reserve’s message to Families on International Family Day: Thank you for sharing the best talent in the world with America’s Army Reserve. Your love and support is an integral part of the national security fabric as we support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. David Gregory Dandy serves as a truck driver (88M) for the 196th Transportation Company in Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Dandy is a team lead at a local bank and a training and area supervisor with a delivery and supply chain management company in Orlando, Fla.

In response to COVID-19, he and his coworkers work nights shipping COVID-19 test kits around the United States. During the day, he is assisting with a New York project for unemployment, processing, and verifying claims for those in dire need of benefits.

"My family and I have been affected somewhat, but we have adjusted as each day changes. My wife is a teacher; she's working from home, keeping in touch with her students each day to ensure that they are keeping up with the work provided. My unit has adapted, replacing battle assembly with virtual battle assembly instead," Dandy said.

"Right now, I'm hunting the good stuff by working and completing my master of business administration degree in finance while also ensuring that my family and I have what we need to stay afloat. You will be surprised how much you can learn in such a short amount of time. A mind is no good if it is not being used to its full potential."

 

RESOURCE OF THE DAY

FEEA offers disaster relief grants to eligible federal employees when these disasters strike. FEEA has given over 9,000 disaster relief grants totaling $4.5 million to federal employees since 1986.

Natural disasters strike each and every year all across the United States. Often close to 100 natural disasters are declared each year in response to floods, hurricanes, winter storms, wildfires, droughts, and tornadoes


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: What is the status of the APFT and ACFT during COVID-19? 

Answer: APFT testing frequency standards for all components is temporarily suspended until further notice.

  • All current valid passing APFT scores are extended until further notice.
  • Current passing APFT score and HT/WT is valid for use as the APFT and HT/WT pre-requisite for PME (enlisted and officer), functional courses, operational course credit consideration, or distant learning/education requirements.
  • Soldiers and units will continue to maintain their physical fitness readiness based on the standards associated with the APFT; and will continue to train for ACFT events while following COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Reenlistments During COVID-19 

  • According to Staff Sgt. John Dice, a career counselor servicing 143d ESC Soldiers, reenlistments are continuing as normal with a few changes to the process.

  • Signatures without a common access card (CAC) are currently being accepted for important documents.

  • In order to reenlist, one requirement is a current and passing Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). However, this requirement is being waived for the time being, under the condition that the Soldier passed their most recent record APFT.

  • If you have any questions regarding reenlistment, you can contact Staff Sgt. Dice at (904) 451-5500.

Sustaining Victory Behind the Mask

  • It’s hard to go anywhere these days without seeing someone wearing a mask. Whether it's homemade or medical grade, these masks represent the challenge our society is currently facing. It’s an important part of keeping ourselves and others safe while we work to flatten the curve.

  • We invite Soldiers, Civilians, and Family members to email the 143d ESC Public Affairs Office with a photo of you wearing your mask at usarmy.usarc.143-esc.list.pao@mail.mil.

  • Don’t forget to include your first and last name, rank, unit, and hometown.

America Strong Flight Update

  • Friday, May 15

    • At 12:15 pm., the 106th Rescue Wing will conduct a flyover over Long Island, N.Y. to Salute COVID-19 responders.  Three aircraft, an HC-130J Combat King II airplane and two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters will participate.
  • At 10:30 a.m., the 927th Air Refueling Wing will conduct a flyover with two KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over nearly a dozen area hospitals in Tampa, Fla. 

  • The Air Force Thunderbirds have scheduled a flyover for Los Angeles, Calif. and San Diego, Calif..


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Mezquita serves as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) unit supply sergeant (92Y) for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), in Orlando, Fla. 

"Being at the division level headquarters, our command is responsible for reporting on the status of more than 7,000 Soldiers assigned to the 143d ESC. We continue to practice social distancing and provide guidance regarding travel advisories," Mezquita said.

When asked about his family, Mezquita said they're getting into the groove of things. "It's been interesting seeing society change so quickly. My wife is home with my son, and his school is completely online. At work, I now use Microsoft Teams to complete tasks that would normally be in person. My son's school is actually using the same application to conduct homeschooling."

As Mezquita's home environment changed from the COVID-19 pandemic, his work environment and the business practices he would execute day-to-day have become challenging. "What changed the most is not being able to be physically at my duty location. One challenge is trying to accomplish tasks electronically, while there are still requirements needing to be done in person. It's definitely easier said than done," shared Mezquita.

Mezquita touched on the importance of daily communication with one another, "Whether it's over the phone or social media, I try to keep in contact with all of my Soldiers that I normally would see every day. Not only that, but I've also had more time to communicate with friends and family."

"I'm very thankful to all first responders that are out there doing their best. To those Soldiers in the background that might not get official recognition, I want to say thank you. Our Soldiers who are conducting maintenance, managing supplies, meeting logistics requirements, noncommissioned officers, and everyone who is making sure our force is as capable as possible to fight this virus while accomplishing our missions, thank you."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

This is an especially difficult time for our military families and children. Although resiliency and inner strength are qualities we admire in military families, during these uncertain times, the Military Child Education Coalition is here with additional support. Taking what we’ve learned from over 20 years of helping military kids and their families successfully manage transition and mobility issues, we have culled supportive content and resources for parents, educators, and students. 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: What type of training is available during Virtual Battle Assemblies (VBAs)?

Answer:  Virtual Battle Assembly Training Sources - The following are resources to utilize for VBA. VBA training is not limited to only these options.

  • Physical Training
  • Online Courses
  • Professional Development (OPD/NCOPD/SGTs Time)
  • Administrative Time
  • Army Training Network (ATN)
  • Digital Training Management System
  • Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) Virtual Events
  • “Strong Bonds-Fund” Soldier/Family Virtual Resiliency Training

Army Credentialing Opportunities

  • Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) helps Soldiers find information on certifications and licenses related to their jobs and civilian careers. 

  • Use COOL to get background information on credentialing and find detailed information on:

    • Credentials related to an Army Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)

    • Credential requirements and potential gaps between Army training and civilian credentialing requirements

    • Resources available to fill gaps between military training and civilian credentialing requirements

 Individual Training Opportunities  

  • The Army Training Network (ATN) has released links to individual training opportunities while under COVID-19 social distancing orders.

  • Please note, in order to access the links, you must sign into the ATN using your AKO username and password or common access card. 

  • Some training topics include the warrior tasks and battle drills, physical training, unit training management, and various center of excellence resources.

America Strong Flight Update

  • The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be conducting another flyover tomorrow, May 14th, in Nashville, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Col. Richard Aviles serves as a logistics officer (90A) for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, he is an application systems manager for the Lee County School District in Cape Coral, Fla.

Aviles is currently mobilized with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command as a plans officer in support of the COVID-19 response. "Here at the headquarters building, we're all required to wear a mask. It's strange, but we're staying resilient. Focusing on the mission, collaborating with the staff, planning ahead, and conducting physical training," Aviles said.

Since the end of April, many states have entered into the first phase of reopening. "We are working long hours, but it is very satisfying to see how states and cities are bouncing back, and knowing that we contributed to that worldwide effort," Aviles shared.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

USAJOBS is hiring – help them respond to COVID-19.

The Federal Government is looking to fill various positions to help respond to and fight COVID-19. View open positions.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How do VBAs work for Soldiers completing electronic based distance learning (EBDL) courses?


Answer: Soldiers who complete coursework during a VBA that is listed as eligible for Electronic Based Distance Learning (EBDL) compensation will be paid for BA (drills).

Medical and Dental Appointments through LHI.care

  • Have you checked your medical and dental readiness? If you’re within 90 days from your annual medical and dental readiness, it’s time to schedule your medical and dental appointments through LHI.care.

  • Please note, if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19, you are asked to reschedule your appointment 14 days after your symptoms subside.

The Binson Show - For Army Reserve Kids: Social Distancing

  • Binson is an energetic and lovable character who teaches children important lessons about COVID-19 and other issues through his playful exploration.

  • First Episode, Binson attempts to figure out what Social Distancing is, and why it's an important guideline for children to follow.

SMA Sends: Keeping Our People Safe

  • Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston expressed in a message to the force, “As summer approaches, I ask you to look at how you are enabling your Squads to be safe while off duty.  While off-duty Soldier fatalities are down significantly this FY (over a one-third decrease), compared with the same period last year, this may be related to restrictions placed on Soldiers' activities due to COVID-19.  We must equip our Squads with the information they need to understand risk and make decisions that reflect their value of life.”

  • The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center recently developed and released the annual Off-Duty Safety Awareness Presentation and launched its annual Motorcycle Safety Awareness Campaign for the month of May.  

America Strong Flight Update

  • Another flyover is scheduled for today over Detroit, Chicago, and Indianapolis.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Jeffrey Boston serves as a motor transport operator (88M) for the 623rd Inland Cargo Transfer Company out of West Palm Beach, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Boston is an artist entertainer from Sanford, Fla.

"I have noticed an increase in communication between family members, artists, and other members of the label. We are doing our best to provide those who are in need by pitching in and helping out, while at the same time spreading positivity through music," shared Boston on the environment of his small business.

Boston does his best to stay busy and active. "Whether it's writing music, reading a book, watching a movie, or binge-watching a TV show that I find interesting. I've also been exercising regularly. Exercising and writing music are the two best ways to help me keep a steady mind."

"I want to say to everyone out there to remain positive and to stay safe. I believe that despite all the bad we hear, there's always some good out there as well. From what I've seen, the communities are coming together to help each other out, and friends and family are still just a phone call away if you need to reach out."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Explore a career with the Veterans Benefits Administration. Are you or someone you know looking for a new career path

The Veterans Benefits Administration offers many professional opportunities to both Veterans and civilians with competitive salaries, retirement plans, and paid leave. Apply online today.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How does COVID-19 policy affect Soldier PME schools?

Answer:  All Master Leader Course (MLC) resident classes scheduled to start prior to 18 Jun 2020 have been converted to distance learning.  The course(s) will be conducted via the same 6-week distance learning model currently being used for the MLC-DL classes.  Soldiers with a reservation will receive a welcome letter from the schoolhouse with reporting and attendance instruction. DA Form(s) 705, 5500 and 5501 will be accepted as long as they are within one year and otherwise meet the required standard for MLC.  This course is listed on the EBDL course list and is eligible for pay though the EDBL Program.

For Army War College, the Commandant of the U.S Army War College cancelled the AY22 Distant Education Program (DEP) resident Orientation Weekends on 24-25 Apr and 01-02 May 2020.  In Lieu of the in-residency orientation weekends, all classes of 2022 students are encouraged to participate in the online Blackboard version of the orientation course, DE2300 “Introduction to Strategic Leaders Education.” All enrolled AY22 students will receive a USAWC welcome email after 14 Apr 2020 with instructions on how to access their USAWC Blackboard account and participate in DE2300.

For ILE Phases 1 and 3 students enrolled in TASS ILE PH1 and PH3 classes, the classes will be conducted as distance learning on Blackboard (BB) Ultra. This will mirror the 15-day TASS resident curriculum and enable real-time interface with instructors and peers. Supporting TASS Battalions will send a welcome letter to all students 30 days prior to course start, and students will receive orders to start one day prior to class start date. The same general guidance applies for TASS ILE Phase 2, but monthly classes will be conducted over in a 4 UTA-like time frame scheduled by the course instructor.

2020 Summer Annual Training Update

  • This summer’s annual training may be very different. Not all, but some units may shift this year’s annual training towards individual tasks due to COVID-19 DoD guidance limiting travel and capacity.

  • Check with your chain of command for your unit’s annual training plans.

State Reopening Update: Alabama

America Strong Flight Update

  • Another flyover is scheduled for Detroit, Chicago, and Indianapolis on Tuesday, May 12.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Timothy Taylor serves as a wheeled vehicle mechanic (91B) for the 410th Quartermaster Detachment out of Jacksonville, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Taylor is a patrol deputy for the Nassau County Sheriff's Office in Nassau County, Fla.

"In January, my wife gave birth to our second son Myles. With a newborn at home, we've been watching the spread closely, taking every precaution. It's been especially rough on my wife. She's been out of work since the shutdown and is currently home with our two boys," Taylor shared on the challenges his family has faced since the start of the pandemic. 

To support his family, Taylor has been working overtime whenever he can. Luckily, he's not the only one stepping up to help. Members of Taylor's community have also found unique ways of supporting one another through this tough time. "My wife and neighbors have worked together and done a phenomenal job schooling, entertaining, and working with all the kids from scavenger hunts to golf cart rides," Taylor said.

Taylor knows first-hand the risks and sacrifices first responders face during this pandemic. "I go to work every day because crime does not stop for COVID-19. The real heroes are the men and women who work in emergency medical services and medical professionals that are on the front line right now. I know the men and women at Nassau County Fire and Rescue are putting in the necessary work!"


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Office of Financial Readiness is the Lead of the department’s financial readiness efforts to support a mission-ready Force through policy, programs, and advocacy. The impact of COVID-19 is substantial and rapidly changing. They are here for you with resources tailored to the military community.

 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is it safe to travel to campgrounds/go camping?

Answer:  CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Going camping at a time when much of the United States is experiencing community spread of COVID-19 can pose a risk to you if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities at campsites or along the trails. This is because it is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Exposure may be especially unsafe if you are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and are planning to be in remote areas, far away from medical care.  Also be aware that many local, state, and national public parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

Economic Impact Payment

Connect with the 81st Readiness Division Family Readiness Support Assistance

May is Mental Health Month

  • Now is the time to start your journey, focusing on your mental health can lead to a healthier life. Whether you’re looking to take the first step or the next step in your journey toward recovery, start here. Start today!

America Strong Flight Update

  • The U.S. Navy Blue Angels conducted another flyover today for Jacksonville and Miami, Fla.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Master Sgt. Bryan Beeler is currently mobilized as the current operations and integration cell (COIC) shift noncommissioned officer with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command.

Beeler provides vital information to service members mobilized as part of the Department of Defense whole-of-government response to fight COVID-19.

Watch Master Sgt. Beeler’s interview on the 377th TSC official Facebook page as he shares his role in the COIC and how service carries over whether he’s serving with fellow Soldiers or colleagues back home.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

VFW's Unmet Needs program is there to help America's military families who have run into unexpected financial difficulties as a result of deployment or other military-related activity or injury. The program provides financial aid grants of up to $1,500 to assist with basic life needs in the form of a grant - not a loan - so no repayment is required. To further ease the burden, we pay the creditor directly.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is it safe to travel to visit family or friends?

Answer: CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions. Although it can be hard to remain apart from loved ones during challenging or stressful times, try to connect with them in other ways, using video chats or phone calls.

Opening Up America Again

  • President Donald Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

  • Here are the dates of the first phase, if applicable, from the states within the 143d ESC area of responsibility: 

    • Alabama - April 30

    • California - TBD 

    • Florida - May 4

    • Georgia - April 30

    • Louisiana - May 1

    • Mississippi - April 27

    • North Carolina - May 7

    • South Carolina - April 20

    • Tennessee - April 27

    • Virginia - May 15

Army Rolls Out New App to Improve PCS Move Experience in COVID-19 Era

  • The Army released the Army PCS Move  mobile knowledge-based app designed to enhance the relocation experience for Soldiers, Families, and Department of the Army Civilians.

  • Those preparing for a permanent change-of-station (PCS) move now have access to an organized central hub of information on entitlements, types of moves, how to plan/schedule a move, claims, and important moving information related to COVID-19.

  • Download the free Army PCS Move app now in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

U.S. Army Bands Offer Free Concerts Online

America Strong Flight Update

  • Another flyover is scheduled for Jacksonville and Miami, Fla. Friday, May 8.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Staff Sgt. Porscha Kimbro serves as a human resources specialist (42A) and petroleum supply specialist (92F) for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Orlando, Fla. In her civilian capacity, Kimbro serves as a nurse manager in Deltona, Fla.

As a nurse, Kimbro is on the front lines combating the virus experiencing first-hand the effects of COVID-19 and says that more than anything, it has affected her and her family mentally.

“It is difficult when your daughter wants to come to give you a hug and kiss after work, but you have to scrub down first. It is also tough to restrict visitors for extremely ill patients,” Kimbro said.

However, Kimbro says she is working through it, using precautions at work and keeping her kids healthy and engaged in their education. “I’m leaving the mental concerns of nursing and the virus at the hospital doors. With love and support from my family, we’re smiling and finding ways to get through it together.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Veterans Resource Centers of America is a community-based nonprofit focused on the overall wellness and reintegration of military veterans from all eras. Founded in 1972 by a group of Vietnam veterans, we have 14 resource centers embedded in local communities across California, Arizona, and Nevada. With a primary focus on housing assistance, behavioral health treatment, and case management, we take a holistic approach to addressing the individual needs of each veteran.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Should I get my pet tested for COVID-19

Answer:  Routine testing of pets for COVID-19 is not recommended at this time. We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of pets spreading the virus is considered to be low. If your pet is sick, consult your veterinarian.

Find Your Next Job with American Corporate Partners

  • American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a nationwide non-profit connecting transitioning veterans to experienced professionals for free, one-on-one yearlong mentorships. 

  • ACP currently can add another 1500-2000 mentees to their programs and are seeking interested Enlisted Soldiers that don't have a 4-year degree and Soldiers with PTS or other related challenges. 

  • The program is free of charge and open to post-9/11 veterans and service members of all grades. Apply today

Intermediate Level Education Distance Learning Update

  • Effective Jun. 1, 2020, the Department of Distance Education will reinstate the timeline to complete Distance Learning (DL) and Total Army School System (TASS) Common Core within 18 months

  • Students who enroll on Jun. 1 or later must complete all three phases within 18 months.

  • Currently, enrolled students are grandfathered from the 18-month requirement but are still required to remain active within the Blackboard Learning Management System at least once every 60 days.

  • Questions can be directed to the Department of Distance Education at (913) 758-3502.

81st Readiness Division Leverages Technology

  • Despite travel restrictions, military technicians with the 81st Readiness Division (RD) ensured Reserve Soldiers were ready to respond in a moment's notice.

  • Reserve Personnel Action Centers (RPACs) in Puerto Rico and Georgia processed several Soldiers through both virtual and face-to-face Level-1 Soldier Readiness Program (SRP) events to prepare them to deploy for COVID-19 operations.

  • The expedited process was put into action recently as the RPAC helped the Mortuary Affairs Unit validate in anticipation of mobilization for COVID-19 response.

America Strong Flight Update

  • The U.S. Navy Blue Angels conducted a flyover today in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans.

  • Another flyover is scheduled for Jacksonville and Miami, Fla. Friday, May 8.

  • Flight paths and times for the flyovers can be viewed on the Blue Angels official Facebook page.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Capt. Braxton Cotton serves as a logistics officer (90A) with the 642nd Regional Support Group. In his civilian capacity, Cotton is a director at the State Agency in Georgia.

Cotton is currently mobilized with the 377th Theater Support Command (TSC) Support Operations out of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, La. offering direct logistical support for task forces responding to COVID-19.

“The most obvious and lingering impact of this situation [COVID-19] is that it’s changed the way we live and work. Everyone’s wearing masks and social distancing. It’s just the new normal,” Cotton said. 

“The way I look at it, I get to go to work every day, and not many people can say that. I have a solid team, and I try to move around the office, cracking jokes and making people laugh. It’s a weird time, but we always make the best of it. Despite all this, we have a job to do. And we’ll do it for the same reason we do anything else, for our nation.” 


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

With Meals-to-You, eligible families get a Meals-to-You box delivered to their home for each of their students during school closure periods. 

Meals to You boxes contain 20 nutritious meals – 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches – to cover the meals children would normally receive at school over two school weeks. Foods contained in the boxes meet USDA’s Summer Food Service Program meal standards and may include items like milk, fruit cups, cereal, whole-grain crackers, and chili. Boxes are delivered directly to children’s doorsteps via the U.S. Postal Service and other delivery services.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How far can a Soldier travel if they are currently on leave during the stop movement period?

Answer:  Soldiers may take leave only in the local area in order to limit the spread of and potential exposure to COVID-19. Exceptions may be given for compelling cases where the travel is: (1) determined to be mission essential; (2) necessary for humanitarian reasons; or (3) warranted due to extreme hardship. Each U.S. Army Reserve member should check with their unit’s chain of command for specific limitations and updates to local leave policies. For more information on Soldier leave and pass during COVID-19, see the Army COVID-19 latest guidance.

Delay in SOES Certificate Processing

  • There is currently a delay in transmitting SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) election certificates from SOES to Soldier's iPERMS record

  • Issues began in/about Apr. 15 and the projected date to clear the backlog is May 8. 

  • Soldiers who certified coverage between Apr. 15 and May 5, should not recertify until the backlog is cleared; otherwise, they will only further delay the process.

Receive an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship

  • If you are interested in receiving an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship and commissioning into the Army Reserve, the Guaranteed Reserve Force Duty (GRFD) Scholarship Minuteman Campaign provides you an excellent opportunity.

  • The GRFD Scholarship Minuteman Campaign covers 4 years of full tuition and fees or $10,000 for room and board at colleges and universities served by an Army ROTC program.

  • Scholarship recipients also receive a monthly stipend of $420, and a yearly book allowance of $1,200. In addition, recipients participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program, which gives them experience with an Army Reserve unit while earning additional money for their service.

America Strong Flight Update

  


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Cadet Shikera Nyree Grant serves as a chemical equipment repair specialist (91J) with the 414th Transportation Company in Orangeburg, S.C. She is currently a full-time student at Benedict College and a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet with the University of South Carolina Gamecock Battalion in Columbia, S.C.

"COVID-19 has affected my schooling. I've been taking online classes for the spring semester, and its possible school will be online in the fall semester as well. I'm a stationary Soldier right now, and I've been performing all of my reserve duties through the virtual battle assembly."

Grant said that her schedule is the same; she still wakes up early every day to attend different conference calls and video conference meetings, the only difference being that it's all done from home.

Grant advised to always "hunt the good stuff. Take advantage of quality time with your family, and don't focus on what you can't control. This is what our resiliency training is for; getting through tough times like this. Now more than ever, we need to make sure we have our battle buddies backs because we're all in this together."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

HOPE NOW is a non-profit dedicated to home preservation. Have you been impacted by COVID-19 and having problems paying your mortgage? The Alliance was encouraged in 2007 by The Department of the Treasury and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to bring together diverse stakeholders to address housing challenges in local markets and create collaborations to solve problems.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Where can I find more information on COVID-19, how it spreads, health risks, and how to keep Soldiers, family members and the community safe?

Answer: Detailed answers to all of these questions can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions page.

Scheduling a Periodic Health Assessment Appointment

  • To schedule a Periodic Health Assessment appointment, fill out a Services Request Form through your LHI.Care account.

  • Please note that if you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 you will need to reschedule any appointments until 14 days after your symptoms have subsided.

Leader Professional Development Opportunity

  • Sign up for a free leadership, training, and professional development webinar with guest speaker John Wayne Troxell, Command Sergeant Major retired and former Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman.

  • The webinar is hosted on Zoom.

  • Army Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) John Wayne Troxell served in the U.S. Armed Forces, from Dec. 11, 2015, until his retirement on Dec. 13, 2019. In his last assignment, he served as the principal military advisor to the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, the health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel.

America Strong Flight Update


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Kathia Del Rio serves as an internment resettlement specialist (31E) for the 196th Transportation Company-Palletized Load System and a unit public affairs representative as an additional duty. In her civilian capacity, Del Rio is a loss prevention officer at a major theme park in Orlando, Fla. 

"COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, but I find that it has helped me realize how wonderful it is to work from home and still feel connected to people. I've been working with the command public affairs office on the 143d ESC COVID-19 Daily Update blog to keep Soldiers informed, and it has helped me realize how much I love working in this field. It has been such a rewarding experience to help Soldiers stay motivated and resilient throughout the pandemic by being available to them, especially to help answer their questions and address their concerns," mentioned Del Rio. 

When she isn't working, Del Rio stays motivated by working out, gardening, and spending time with her family. "It is important to the human body and mind to remain active, whether you choose to run, weight lift, or walk your dogs. We can't become lazy just because we're in the comfort of our home."

Del Rio would like to thank the many first responders, nurses, and essential personnel who had a hand at helping the American people. "It is not easy to run into a battle where the outcome is not certain, and the ground is unstable. However, our nation's first responders and essential personnel have done an incredible job handling the coronavirus despite working in hazardous conditions. For that, I am profoundly grateful," stated Del Rio. 

Del Rio is a second-generation service member. Her father is a retired Navy, and her younger brother is a Marine.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY


HUD provides a variety of disaster resources and partners with Federal and state agencies to help implement disaster recovery assistance. Under the National Response Framework, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) offer initial recovery assistance.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Can disinfectant sprays or wipes be used on my skin, injected, inhaled, or ingested to prevent or treat COVID-19?

Answer:  No. Always follow the instructions on household cleaners. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are intended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are not intended for use on humans or animals. Do not use disinfectant sprays or wipes on your skin because they may cause skin and eye irritation. Do not inject, inhale, or ingest disinfectant sprays or household cleaners; doing so is dangerous and may cause serious harm or death. If ingested, call poison control or a medical professional immediately.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

  • Apr. 27 - Army Reserve AR/60: Episode 22. Check out the latest episode of AR/60  where Staff Sgt. Fimbres, Army Reserve Strategic Communication, covers the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces providing medical relief in response to COVID-19 and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Apr. 28 - America Strong. In a show of national solidarity, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct a series of multi-city flyovers championing national unity behind frontline responders.

  • Apr. 29 - Economic Impact Payment Update. Are you an SSI or VA beneficiary? If you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and have dependent children, you must register with the IRS by noon Eastern Time on May 5 to get an additional $500 economic impact payment for dependents.

  • Apr. 30 - COVID-19 Fraud. criminal opportunists are attempting social engineering, phishing, non-delivery, and auction fraud scams related to coronavirus.

  • May 1 - Defense Finance Accounting Service Website Updates. The DFAS public website will transition to a new content management system, hosted by Defense Media Activity, on Saturday, May 2.

Military and Veteran Virtual Career Fair

Defense Finance Accounting Service Website Updates

  • The DFAS public website will transition to a new content management system, hosted by Defense Media Activity, on Saturday, May 2.

  • The new site pages are designed to provide a familiar look and feel by mirroring the navigation menu options on the existing site.

  • Corporate Communications have published posts on the DFAS Facebook page to inform the agency’s military, retiree and civilian customers of the change. 

America Strong Flight Update


UNIT SPOTLIGHT

Soldiers of the 196th Transportation Company conducted their first Virtual Battle Assembly (VBA) from Apr. 18-19, 2020. 

VBAs were put in place to ensure Soldiers have the maximum means to maintain individual Soldier readiness, build resiliency, and provide stability and security for Soldiers and their Families.

1st Sgt. Juan Garcia expressed that overall the “VBA feedback was positive and seemed to indicate that Soldiers were flexible and were interested in the material being reviewed.” 

Challenges with technology can often be inevitable, especially when getting accustomed to new online platforms. 1st Sgt. Garcia further explained how “there seemed to be audio issues at the beginning of the training, but was quickly overcome with training minimally impacted.”

In addition to the valuable training conducted through a video conference platform, Soldiers also had the opportunity to attend chaplain service with Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Olszewski, 257th Transportation Battalion, Sunday morning on Apr. 19. Olszewski highlighted that in comparison to chaplain services during battle assembly, typically ranging between 10-20 Soldiers; there were 71 Soldiers listening and participating throughout the VBA chaplain service. 

Olszewski’s interactive service focused on Joy, which stemmed from Saturday’s resiliency training on Hunt the Good Stuff. Soldiers contributed through dialogue by sharing their thoughts on how joy can be found, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If Soldiers are seeking spiritual guidance, counseling, advice, or mentoring, they can reach me at 609-240-3405,” Olszewski said.

The success of the 196th Transportation Company VBA was the result of the increased face-to-face interactions between Soldiers. Spc. Chris Lawrence, culinary specialist (92G), shared that the “VBA was a huge success! It was a great way for Soldiers and leadership to interact with each other and to experience some good training as well.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

National VOAD promotes cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration, and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.

Today, National VOAD is a coalition of 70+ of the nation’s most reputable national organizations and 56 State/Territory VOADs, which represent Local/Regional VOADs and hundreds of other member organizations throughout the country.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Can I get COVID-19 from my pet or other animals?

Answer:  Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of pets spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 in people is considered to be low. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. There is a small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after having close contact with a person with COVID-19.

Delivering Hope

  • Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program empowers entrepreneurs to build their own small businesses delivering Amazon packages in their local communities.

  • Amazon has committed $5 million toward funding the startup costs for Veterans, offering $10,000 reimbursements to qualified candidates to build their own businesses.

  • Who is Eligible? - All Veterans with a drive to succeed are invited to apply. Logistical experience is not required.

  • Apply at: amazon.com/DSP-VA

COVID-19 Fraud

  • Throughout the crisis, transnational criminal organizations have attempted to profit from the shipping of prohibited medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and other products that claim to help in the fight against coronavirus. 

  • Other criminal opportunists are attempting social engineering, phishing, non-delivery, and auction fraud scams related to coronavirus.

  • As of Apr. 17, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported that it has identified and blocked over 3,500 coronavirus-related malicious domains and email addresses since the start of the pandemic.

Kill the Virus: Roaming Shark 

  • A "friendly" drill sergeant roams the hallways of the U.S. Army Reserve Headquarters building at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to remind Soldiers of social practices in the fight against COVID-19.

  •  As Soldiers and Civilians begin to return to the office in the coming weeks or months, it's important to continue proper hygiene with 20 seconds of hand-washing and protecting one another by wearing a face mask while interacting with others in close environments when 6 feet of distancing is not possible.

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Maria Henderson is a water treatment specialist (92W) with the 410th Quartermaster Detachment in Jacksonville, Fla. In her civilian capacity, Henderson is a director of digital content for a start-up company and commercial photographer in Jacksonville, Fla. 

"Before the shutdown, I was traveling all over for work, meeting with clients and working on projects. Most people have dreaded the quarantine, but I see it as a chance to work on myself and my business." Henderson said.  

"I've picked up a few online college classes in this spare time, reworked my website, updated my resume, and evaluated the direction I want my career to go. It's been difficult dealing with the loss of income, but money can be replaced, and the valuable time I've gotten to spend with my loved ones is priceless."

Henderson's advice to surviving the quarantine is taking it one day at a time. "Those of us who are fortunate enough to be healthy at this moment shouldn't take this down-time for granted. Work on your neglected hobbies, your relationships, and yourself. That way, when this is all over, we can all come out of it better than we went in."


RESOURCE OF THE DAY 

Aunt Bertha is a social care network that connects people and programs — making it easy for people to find social services in their communities, for nonprofits to coordinate their efforts, and for customers to integrate social care into the work they already do.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question:  How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect Soldiers’ permanent change of station (PCS) moves and temporary duty (TDY) travel?

Answer:  The Army’s temporary halt on PCS moves has been extended beyond the original May 11 end date to Jun. 30. The Secretary of Defense will re-evaluate these restrictions on a rolling 15-day review. Soldiers, DACs, and their family members who have signed out of a CONUS installation en route to a CONUS location will continue PCS movement. Soldiers, DACs and their family members who have signed out of a CONUS installation en route to a foreign OCONUS location will not continue PCS movement without an approved Exception to Policy (ETP) from the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.

$500 per child added to your $1,200 Economic Impact Payment

  • Are you an SSI or VA beneficiary? If you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and have dependent children, you must register with the IRS by noon Eastern Time on May 5 to get an additional $500 economic impact payment for dependents.

  • Fill out a non-filer form NOW to get your full economic impact payment.

Army Physical Fitness Test During COVID-19 Outbreak

  • According to FRAGO 1 to HQDA EXORD 164-20, all current valid passing Army Physical Fitness Test scores remain valid until further notice. 

  • In instances where a Soldier was unable to take an APFT within the 12-months (pregnancy, surgery or injury profile) but passed their last record APFT, the Soldier's last record APFT remains valid until further notice.

  • Height and Weight requirements are currently suspended until further notice; all current height/weight and Army Body Composition Program assessments remain valid until further notice. 

U.S. Army eSports

  • Many Soldiers are taking the opportunity while being home to take on hobbies; for some, it’s video games.

  • The U.S. Army eSports, a highly successful, Department of the Army sanctioned program run by the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) is inviting Army Reserve Soldiers to try out as they expand their talent pool across multiple games and platforms. 

  • Try out for the team straight from home.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Derek Jones is a signal support systems specialist (25U) with the 912th Adjutant General Company in Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Jones is an automotive technician for a membership warehouse company in Apopka, Fla.

“The biggest change at work is that my company shut down my section of the store and put me in another position temporarily until the pandemic becomes safer for us to interact with customers,” said Jones. Despite transferring to a temporary position, Jones hours at his company increased in support of customer demand.   

“Since the new safety precautions, we are required to sanitize our stations frequently, change our gloves hourly, and we have to wear a new face mask daily, provided by the company,” said Jones.

“With my fiancé currently being unemployed due to COVID-19, luckily, I at least have been able to provide since my job is offering more hours. I have also been able to work on my truck, which keeps me busy on my off time,” Jones expressed, emphasizing the importance of resiliency during these challenging times.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Soldier for Life networks with the community at large to shape education, employment, and health policies, programs and/or services on behalf of our Soldiers, Army Veterans and their Families.

Soldiers and their Families have access to programs to assist in finding opportunities. While serving, it is recommended that Soldiers take advantage of the education, employment, health and wellness opportunities and resources.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: What is the difference between isolation and quarantine, and what should a Soldier do if identified for quarantine or isolation due to either personal concern or medical assessment?

Answer: Isolation separates people who are ill with a contagious disease from people who are not ill. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease for a period of time to determine if they will become ill.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers and Civilian employees must contact their chain of command immediately via phone and/or email if it has been determined that quarantine or isolation is necessary. 

Visit the CDC website for guidance on isolation and quarantine. Refer to a medical professional to determine the recommended length of time for quarantine or isolation. Once a medical professional has determined that the person has completed the recommended quarantine or isolation period, unit members should contact their chain of command for further instructions.

America Strong

  • In a show of national solidarity, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct a series of multi-city flyovers championing national unity behind frontline responders.

  • The first flight demonstration started today, Apr. 28, in New York City, Newark, Trenton, and Philadelphia. Joint and individual team flights will occur every one-to-two days until mid-May.

  • As pilots must execute a minimum number of flight hours to maintain proficiency, these flyovers will incur no additional cost to taxpayers.

  • Check your local media for the exact times and locations for the scheduled flyovers.

Hurricane Preparedness

  • Amidst the outbreak and the current precautions dealing with COVID-19, we are near hurricane season, Jun. 1 to Nov. 30. 

  • Make sure to prepare for the hurricane season by stocking up on emergency supplies and learn more about your local emergency plans, warning signals, and evacuation routes.

  • Learn what to do before, during and after a hurricane.

Preparing for Normal Operations

  • Because defense is a full-time necessity, the military cannot shut down, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said at a Pentagon news conference on Apr. 24

  • Department of Defense officials curtailed exercises, limited training, stopped military moves, and took other measures in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections.

  • Even if there is a return to normal, the virus will still be around. It is important to remember not to get complacent. As we adapt to living with the outbreak, we must not forget the risk involved in not following safety guidelines.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Alfonso Dunston is a human resources noncommissioned officer (42A) with the 912th Adjutant General Company in Orlando, Fla. 

In his civilian capacity, Dunston serves as a staff administrative specialist for the 201st Theater Public Affairs Support Element in Bell, Cal. under the 63rd Readiness Division

“As the battalion commander’s senior staff member, I provide daily updates on the operations of each staff section,” Dunston said. “Whether the information is from public affairs missions with the local news stations or from working with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs - Los Angeles (OCPA-LA), everything becomes integrated with the film/production industry in the Greater Los Angeles area and then relayed for personnel and medical readiness.”  

While COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the daily routines everyone is accustomed to, Dunston mentioned that his most significant change was not being physically present at the reserve center to complete his daily tasks. “During the workweek, there are many more conference calls taking place to ensure the operations of the brigade and battalion are still being accomplished so that we can stay on mission,” stated Dunston. 

Aside from working remotely and completing his daily tasks, Dunston is focusing on his masters of business administration (MBA) in human resource management. Dunston also voiced that he enjoys meditating, completing home workouts, and talking to family and friends when not working or doing homework.

“This is the perfect time to work on short and long-term goals that you’ve been eager to achieve. Take these unprecedented times to relax and spend time with your children and family because perhaps this is exactly what the world needed,” expressed Dunston.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The  mission  of the Crisis Assistance Ministry is to  provide assistance  and advocacy for people in a financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency. Get help if you are struggling with limited financial resources, or you may even volunteer to provide assistance for those in need. 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: What should I do if I have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Answer:  If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you may be infected. Close contact means that you live with or have been in settings of less than 6 feet from those who have the disease. In these cases, it is best to stay at home. 

When you attend a health facility, wear a mask if possible and keep at least 6 feet distant from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. If it is a child who is sick, help the child stick to this advice.

If you become ill, even with very mild symptoms you must self-isolate 

  • Even if you don’t think you have been exposed to COVID-19 but develop symptoms, then self-isolate and monitor yourself. 

  • You are more likely to infect others in the early stages of the disease when you just have mild symptoms, therefore early self-isolation is very important.

  • If you do not have symptoms but have been exposed to an infected person, self-quarantine for 14 days.

Serving Spouses Virtual Career Transition Workshop

  • Tomorrow, Apr. 28, 2020, virtually join the Hire Heroes USA Serving Spouses team for expert instruction to help military spouses navigate the job search process during the Spouse Virtual Career Transition Workshop.

  • You can still register today!

Virtual Military Spouse Symposium

  • The Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program will host the Virtual Military Spouse Symposium from Apr. 29-30, 2020.

  • During the symposium, military spouses can learn how to search for federal jobs, make a career change, polish their resumes. This event helps military spouses in all levels of career progression sharpen their skills and achieve their employment goals.

  • Register for as many sessions as they would like.

Army Reserve AR/60: Episode 22

  • Check out the latest episode of AR/60  where Staff Sgt. Fimbres, Army Reserve Strategic Communication, covers the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces providing medical relief in response to COVID-19 and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Feliberto Perez is a generator mechanic (91D) with the 912th Adjutant General Company in Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Perez serves as an emergency vehicle technician. 

Without reliable transportation, first responders cannot arrive on the scene in time. "My company has maximized production to help get as many emergency vehicles back on the road around the county. I work longer hours than I have to so I can help my company as well as keeping busy during the coronavirus pandemic," Perez said.

When Perez is not conducting maintenance and repairs on emergency vehicles, he maintains physical readiness in his spare time to keep himself in physical and mental shape.

 

RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Get Ready. If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How to grocery shop safely?

Answer:  When grocery shopping, keep at least a 6-feet distance from others and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. If possible, sanitize the handles of shopping trolleys or baskets before shopping. Once home, wash your hands thoroughly and also after handling and storing your purchased products. There is currently no confirmed case of COVID-19 transmitted through food or food packaging.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

  • Apr. 20 - DoD Travel Restrictions Extended. The Department of Defense (DoD) Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Travel Restrictions will now extend to June 30, 2020.

  • Apr. 21 - USERRA. Veterans Employment & Training Service (VETS) provides assistance to Reserve Soldiers experiencing service-connected problems with their civilian employment and provides information about USERRA to employers.

  • Apr. 22 - Virtual Yellow Ribbon Training Events. The 81st Readiness Division Family Programs is offering Virtual Yellow Ribbon pre- and post-deployment training events for Soldiers and their Family members. 

  • Apr. 23 - Apply for the AGR Program. Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Soldiers serve full-time and enjoy the same benefits as Active Duty Soldiers. See if you are eligible for the AGR program and submit an application.

  • Apr. 24 - Virtual Career Fair. Join the virtual career fair hosted by the Military Officers Association of America and Hiring Our Heroes on May 8, 2020, from 1-3 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). This virtual career fair is open to all service members, veterans, and military spouses.

Virtual Career Fair

  • Join the Virtual Career Fair hosted by the Military Officers Association of America and Hiring Our Heroes on May 8, 2020, from 1-3 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). This virtual career fair is open to all service members, veterans, and military spouses.

  • The online, cloud-based platform makes it easy and fun for you to participate. After signing in, you'll be able to explore the available information and opportunities, and participate in one-on-one text-based chats with representatives from participating organizations.

Extensions for Expiring Common Access Card

  • To ensure DOD ID card offices are postured to maintain continuity of operations and to minimize the number of non-essential visits to DoD ID card offices, the Department of Defense has enabled a temporary capability to allow cardholders to update their certificates on soon-to-expire common access cards (CAC).

  • Be advised that this capability is for cardholders whose credentials are within 30 days of expiration. Review the step-by-step guide to update the expiration date on your CAC. Additional information can be found here.

Tips on Identifying COVID-19 Themed Scams and Reporting Resources

  • Be wary of suspicious emails and text messages. Verify that these are from a known or valid source, think before clicking on any links, and be aware of suspicious attachments. Suspicious email content may include unexplained urgency, last minute changes in instructions or information, and changes in typical communication platforms.

  • If you receive a scam call, hang up. If the calls persist, report the incident to one of the authorities recommended by the Department of Justice. Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or email disaster@leo.gov. 


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Leon Orange is a culinary specialist (92G) assigned to the 196th Transportation Company in Orlando, Fla. In his civilian capacity, Orange is a real estate photographer.  

"My job has been greatly affected by COVID-19 because of social distancing and businesses shutting down," Orange said. 

Despite facing employment challenges, Orange expressed that "the last couple weeks have been a blessing in disguise because now I have more time on my hands to focus on projects I've wanted to do for a while and possibly pursue self-employment endeavors."

"Duty is one of the many Army values I continue to practice because whether I am at my job, working from home, or putting on the uniform, my duty doesn't end," Orange said.

With a background in photography, Orange also serves as a unit public affairs representative. He is pictured in civilian attire acting as a reporter interviewing a Soldier during a media training held on Feb. 8, 2020.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Crisis Text Line. Social distancing may be lonely, but you’re not alone.

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States to connect with a Crisis Counselor. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from a secure online platform. 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: How do I know if I’m an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Answer:  Critical infrastructure industries, including many Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated industries such as food, drugs, and medical equipment, have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations. 

On March 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA) issued guidance on defining essential workers. This guidance offers an initial baseline for governments and industry to use when identifying key groups of employees during COVID-19 response. This guidance is not binding and serves as a starting point for local and state governments.

Apply for the Active Guard Reserve Program

Stay Mentally Resilient through Give an Hour

  • Give an Hour provides free counseling to service members, veterans and their loved ones. If you or someone you know is in need, please follow these steps to get help.

  • Give an Hour has seen a 500% increase in new licensed provider registrations from February to March 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all services will be provided via telephone or telemental health to abide by social distancing guideline, visit giveanhour.org/get-help

Understanding Health Protection Condition Levels

  • The Department of Defense has a protocol for public health emergencies, and they’re known as health protection conditions – HPCONs. 

  • HPCON Levels are 0, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Understand what each level means, know what to expect when HPCON levels change and what that means for you and your family.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Maj. David Clyatt is a transportation sergeant major (88Z60) serving as the interim command sergeant major for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). In his civilian capacity, Clyatt serves as a firefighter/emergency medical technician in Charlotte County, Fla. 

Serving as a first responder during COVID-19 has proven to be a challenge throughout the nation. Clyatt mentioned that “many changes in response to COVID-19 during medical emergencies have heightened stressors experienced at the firehouse and on the scene. Personal protective equipment is essential, and now we have to worry about implementing that into our response time when responding to calls.” Aside from aiming to keep response times at a minimum, “we also have to be cautious when responding if the patient has COVID symptoms. For this scenario, we have added screening questions that can be asked before our arrival, but not every call allows for this, and scenarios remain in which we don’t know what we are walking into,” added Clyatt. 

When Clyatt isn’t serving his community as a first responder or completing tasks and missions with the 143d ESC, he enjoys spending time at home with his family and completing home projects. 

As a community first responder and interim command sergeant major, Clyatt would like to remind everyone to “stay safe and take extra precautions when going into public places. Try to keep your exposure to a minimum, and if you are affected by the coronavirus, there are resources for those seeking help. Resources can be found on the right side of this blog, and if you have any questions, click the red button in the top right and feel free to ask our team any question you may have.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Does COVID-19 present a risk to the safety of the nation’s blood supply?

Answer In general, respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.

Virtual Yellow Ribbon Training Events

  • The 81st Readiness Division Family Programs is offering Virtual Yellow Ribbon pre- and post-deployment training events for Soldiers and their Family members. 

  • Register for the next training event, which can be used in conjunction with virtual battle assemblies (VBA) and rescheduled training (RST) periods. Soldiers get a one-day order of active duty for training (ADT) once their unit provides a certificate of completion to the 81st Readiness Division Yellow Ribbon finance team.

  • If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the 81st Readiness Division Yellow Ribbon team at usarmy.usarc.81-rsc.mbx.yellow-ribbon@mail.mil or (803) 470-5902.

Cyber Security Awareness

  • The Military Health System is increasing its efforts for cybersecurity awareness. It is more important than ever to protect information, especially personal health information. 

  • Protect your family in cyberspace by discussing safe online behavior with them.

  • Phishing is one of the most common methods of breaching data. Scammers pose as a legitimate business to steal information. During this pandemic crisis, hackers are offering fake COVID-19 test kits to patients who respond with their personal information such as social security numbers, bank information, or credit card numbers.

  • “People expect to get information on their phones, at home, at work, in multiple ways. When you increase the venues of access, you could increase the likelihood of risk and unauthorized access,” said Servio Medina, branch chief, Cyber Security Division, Defense Health Agency.

Spiritual Fitness

  • Entering a chapel may remind people of solemn singing, an ambiance of hope, and the desire to unite their spiritual yearnings. With places of worship closed as part of the rules requiring physical distancing, reinvigorating resiliency through social media outlets during unprecedented times has become a focus.

  • Watch this week’s words of encouragement from Chaplain (Capt.) George Gouge with the 518th Sustainment Brigade.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Capt. Robert Costa is a transportation officer (88A) currently deployed, serving as the company commander for the 399th Movement Control Team (MCT). 

Deployment is no easy task, much less when there is a pandemic such as COVID-19 involved. Costa assured that Soldiers of the 399th MCT remain resilient by calling home often and staying healthy through physical fitness. 

“There’s a pull-up bar in our office, and every day we challenge each other to complete a large number of exercises such as 100 knee raises. These challenges keep us fit and are fun to complete throughout the day,” expressed Costa. 

However, due to COVID-19, Costa mentioned that conducting physical training as a unit has become somewhat of a challenge. “We’ve had to get creative with conducting group physical training and have resorted to splitting into smaller groups so that the dangers of the coronavirus are minimized. Physical fitness is important to us because we want to make sure our Soldiers remain healthy and that we aren’t failing them. We continue to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe,” mentioned Costa. 

While dealing with a pandemic hasn’t been easy during a deployment, Costa remains in high spirits and continues to successfully carry out his duties as a company commander. 

“I’m really thankful for the solid group I’m currently with. They are highly resilient and are great at focusing on our missions. I’m also indebted by all of the support we’ve been receiving from back home. Knowing that there are people back home who miss us and care about our well-being is priceless to us. Thank you all.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Double Eagle App allows Soldiers to communicate directly with other Soldiers, unit leaders, and important resources such as Family Readiness and Suicide Prevention. This will allow Soldiers to connect with people they may not have the opportunity to meet or speak to otherwise, fostering a greater feeling of community.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?

Answer:  Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

  • Veterans Employment & Training Service (VETS) provides assistance to Reserve Soldiers experiencing service-connected problems with their civilian employment and provides information about USERRA to employers. 

  • VETS also assists veterans who have questions regarding Veterans' Preference.

  • For more information and to determine whether your USERRA rights have been violated, please visit the USERRA Advisor.

Veterans Affairs Benefit Payments, Claims, and Claim Exams

  • Visit the Veterans Affair’s COVID-19 website for answers to frequently asked questions from “Is the VA still doing claim exams?” to “What if my claim requires an in-person exam and the VA can’t conduct the exam in person?”

Continuing Education

  • Now is a great time for Soldiers to pursue a degree and/or credential

  • Army Education Centers are operating virtually, providing support to Soldiers interested in continuing their educational goals. Find your nearest Army Education Center

Safety Alert: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Occupational Exposure

  • The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act classifies COVID-19 in the workplace as occupational exposure to potentially infectious materials and the AR 385-10 Army Safety Program as Army Accident (Occupational Illness).

  • Safety Requirement (Reporting and Recording): The commander or supervisor who first becomes aware of all suspected occupational exposure will immediately notify their Chain of Command and the local Safety Office. The local Safety Office will report occupational exposure to the Army Reserve Safety. 


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. 1st Class Yasmin Boneta serves as a mortuary affairs specialist (92M) for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) support operations. She is currently mobilized with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command in New Orleans, La. for the duration of COVID-19. Boneta’s responsibilities include serving as the field services noncommissioned officer in charge as well as the mortuary affairs senior staff noncommissioned officer. 

Boneta’s role with the COVID-19 outbreak is vital to the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “I provide sustainment support to our mortuary affairs assets currently serving in New York as well as the array of operations taking place within the continental U.S. and its territories. This includes deliberate planning and staging for current COVID-19 issues as well as future potential disasters,” stated Boneta. 

“This is the first time in U.S. history where all 50 states have declared a state of emergency,” Boneta said. “Plus, now we have hurricane season approaching, which means more planning while simultaneously taking care of COVID-19. Overall, I can say we’ve all experienced a large influx of responsibilities, but it has united the communities, and that is something to appreciate.” 

As a proud mother to Alexander and Sophia, Boneta maintains constant communication when the mission permits. “My kids are now homeschooled, which allows for increased personal time with their father as well as constant communication with me while I remain in Louisiana. They have also begun calling their grandparents to check in on them, and my parents are cherishing every moment of it,” said Boneta. “My kids are very resilient, and it is a huge inspiration to me. Alexander enjoys video games and basketball, and Sophia is very artistic and takes comfort in drawing. When they call me to tell me about their day, I can hear the genuine tone of excitement in their voices.” 

“I am proud to be able to help the American community when they need us the most while maintaining with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health guidelines to remain ready to serve. Our leaders have done an exceptional job in setting an example. As a result, we continue to stay in the fight,” mentioned Boneta. “My kids are my heroes. They are more mature now, and this has made them stronger. Now, they are the ones reassuring me that everything will be okay and that I will be home soon, and that is what keeps me fighting the good fight.”  

Boneta credits her focus on work, faith in God, and the thought of being reunited with her family, as her main protected factors towards resiliency.  


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Army Emergency Relief has over 30 categories of assistance. For routine assistance inquiries, visit their Financial Assistance page.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is the government sending everyone money due to COVID-19?

Answer:  Yes; A stimulus package has been passed by Congress to help Americans in need. As information becomes available, it will be updated on www.coronavirus.govUnfortunately, scammers are using COVID-19 to take advantage of people. Don’t trust anyone who tells you they can get you money now. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has more information about government scams, including COVID-19 scams.

DoD Travel Restrictions Extended

U.S. Army Reserve Adapts to Fight

  • Most of the 15 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces have already mobilized to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston and Detroit in recent days. The remainder will move out as soon as civil authorities determine which cities have the greatest need.

  • “We’d expected a different fight, in a different place, against a different foe … but this is the fight we’re in, and we’re here to win it,” said Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command.

Troops to Teachers

  • Under the current situation with COVID-19, Florida Troops to Teachers is modifying its operation to ensure all military personnel is able to receive information about the program for teaching as a second career.  

  • Interested personnel must register to begin their application process. If you have questions concerning these events or Troops to Teachers contact the Florida office at t2t@tcc.fl.edu or 833-358-7667.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Capt. Kory Garbelman serves as the senior human resources officer (42B) for the 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Orlando, Fla. In addition to regular operations, Garbelman is part of the G1 Crisis Action Team (CAT), responsible for maintaining the personnel status report (PERSTAT) of all Active Guard Reserve (AGR) and Troop Program Unit (TPU) Soldiers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While COVID-19 has proven to be a challenge when it comes to the workplace, Garbelman mentioned that some of the tougher obstacles were figuring out how to communicate and work remotely as a unit for human resources metrics such as awards and promotions to still take place. 

Capt. Garbelman has managed to remain resilient through the duration of COVID-19 due to the increased family time. “We are grounded together, which means spending time with each other. Understanding their new normal and figuring out the best way to stay resilient together,” stated Garbelman. “We love to exercise and walk the dogs as well as have lunch breaks together and do family fitness events. We also play a lot more board games.” 

The transition from working in the office to working from home has gone great for Garbelman. “I thought there would be more complications, but everyone has something to do, and everyone remains busy until it’s time to relax in the afternoons. Our quality of life has greatly increased due to less ‘outside’ stress such as commuting, traffic and less time for each other. This has, in a way, been a blessing.” 

“We are all one big team, and everyone is working hard across the G1 to make sure we have a successful mission in addition to the duties with our G1 Crisis Action Team. Virtual Battle Assembly has also turned out amazing, and the levels of participation are inspiring. Soldiers want to be involved; they want to maintain their obligations and do what they can to contribute to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Garbelman


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

My HealtheVet.  If you are seeking medical attention from your local VA, register with My Healthevet. My HealtheVet allows for easy communication between you and your healthcare provider, quick and seamless prescription refills, access to your health records and much more.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: I got a call, text, or email saying I could get financial help for COVID-19. Is it legitimate?

Answer:  No. There have been reports that scammers are pretending to be the government, contacting people by robocall, text message, email and other outreach. These scammers say they can get people’s financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ask for money or personal information, like your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. This is a SCAM.

Don’t trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or personal information. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. The Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, U.S. Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control staff never charge for disaster assistance.

The Federal Trade Commission scams page has tips to help you avoid scams online, on the phone, by text and through email. If you see a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Weekly Recap: What you may have missed this past week

  • Apr. 13 - Job Opportunities.  Join the fight against COVID-19. Opportunities to assist at USA JobsThe Federal Government is hiring across a wide range of career fields to help respond to the COVID-19 national emergency. These mission-critical jobs will have a direct impact on the American people and the government's response to COVID-19.

  • Apr. 14 - Virtual Battle Assembly Changes.  The Department of Defense created the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) Environment to support the Department’s move towards a large-scale telework application during the COVID-19 national emergency. Make sure to check your military email for the welcome email from info@email.cvr.mil for your account information. Here is a Log-on Guide for the CVR Environment using Microsoft Teams. This guide has three sections to help you set up your CVR Environment account.

  • Apr. 15 - Stimulus Payments.  Economic Impact Payments, also known as stimulus payments, have been delivered to direct deposits since last Friday, Apr. 10th and more are expected to see a deposit in their bank accounts today. Check your payment status as some individuals may need to update their direct deposit information. Not sure if you are eligible for Economic Impact Payment? Check to see if you qualify.

  • Apr. 16 - Update your Emergency Record Data (DD Form 93).  As COVID-19 continues to develop, it’s important for all Soldiers’ emergency data on their DD Form 93 to be current and accurate. Contact your unit Army Reserve Administrator (ARA) to review and verify your current DD Form 93.

  • Apr. 17 - 143d ESC Policy for Soldier Virtual Battle Assembly (SVBA).  The 143d ESC policy effective Apr. 16, 2020, temporarily authorizes Soldier Virtual Battle Assemblies (SVBA) instead of traditional Battle Assemblies (BA) until further notice.

  • Apr. 18 - Earn professional and technical credentials.  Reserve Soldiers can now access up to $4,000 in assistance each year to voluntarily pursue industry-recognized credentials through the new Army Credentialing Assistance Program.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Staff Sgt. Edward Bromley is a motor transport operator (88M) serving as a training noncommissioned officer for the 196th Transportation Company - Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla. 

Since the start of COVID-19, Staff Sgt. Bromley has remained in the front lines in order to continue operational planning for future missions and battle assembly. 

When he isn’t planning operations, Bromley spends time with his wife, mother, and two dogs. He is grateful to be able to work remotely during such difficult times. 

“COVID-19 has been a trying time for everyone but I thank the Army for teaching me how to remain resilient, even when things aren’t favorable. Having to adapt to a new work environment feels a lot like being deployed, except this time I have my family and dogs,” Bromley said.

 

RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Soldier On is a private nonprofit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness. Since 1994, the organization has been providing homeless veterans with transitional housing and supportive services. 

In 2010, Soldier On opened the first Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community, a permanent housing cooperative that provides formerly homeless veterans with safe, sustainable, affordable housing – transitioning them from homelessness to homeownership. This housing model will be replicated nationally as Soldier On continues to change the end of the story for homeless veterans throughout the country.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is 5G cell phone technology linked to the cause of coronavirus?

Answer:  No. A worldwide online conspiracy theory has attempted to link 5G cell phone technology as being one of the causes of the coronavirus. Many cell towers outside of the U.S. have been set on fire as a result. 5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus.

Army Reserve COVID-19 update

  • Brig. Gen. Dustin Shultz, deputy chief of staff G-3/5/7, U.S. Army Reserve Command, gives an update on how the U.S. Army Reserve is sending Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces and logistical formations in support of the COVID-19 response

  • “Today, our America’s Army Reserve stands ready to support, and are supporting the needs of our nation,” Brig. Gen. Shultz said. 

Earn professional and technical credentials 

When to seek emergency care

  • You may be concerned about going to a hospital or urgent care site during this outbreak when many people are seeking care for coronavirus. There are, however, some signs and symptoms of a medical emergency that you should always seek treatment for immediately. 

  • “Never avoid emergency rooms or wait to see a doctor if you feel your symptoms are truly serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call 911 and/or go to the emergency room,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Evan Lewis serves as a motor transport operator (88M) for the 196th Transportation Company - Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla. and is a police officer for the Tampa Police Department. 

“Working as a police officer is no easy feat but since the start of COVID-19, first responders have had to change how they interact with the public in order to limit their exposure,” Lewis said. 

“COVID-19 has made my family more cognizant of our surroundings and has instilled in me a sense of duty to keep them safe.” 

Spc. Lewis attributes Respect, from the Army Values, to his family’s level of consideration and believes that “it is important to respect one another and the guidelines of the CDC so that we can keep one another safe.”

“I have been focusing on my physical fitness and faith in order to stay resilient during these difficult times. It is tough for everyone but if we all continue to practice social distancing we will be back to normal before we know it,” Lewis said. 


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Rumors vs Fact - COVID-19. Helping the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Do I need to register with FEMA in order to be considered for COVID-19 help from the U.S. Small Business Administration

Answer: No. If you represent a small business or nonprofit, for information visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 loan resources page.

143d ESC Policy for Soldier Virtual Battle Assembly (SVBA)

  • The 143d ESC policy effective Apr. 16, 2020, temporarily authorizes Soldier Virtual Battle Assemblies (SVBA) instead of traditional Battle Assemblies (BA) until further notice. SVBAs utilize DoD approved computer-based platforms to virtually train Soldiers while maintaining social distancing guidelines. 

  • Top Training Priorities: 

    • Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) - Take the “Army Fit” Global Assessment Tool.

    • Mandatory Individual Training -  This training is scheduled by your company command team.  

    • Professional Military Education (PME) - Contact your unit Training NCO to submit your school application.

    • Administrative Birth Month Audit -  Contact your unit Army Reserve Administrator (ARA) to update your records.

  • The policy does not change current Electronic Base Distance Learning (EBDL) or Reschedule Training (RST) policies, which will continue to follow the normal guidance and regulations already published. 

Military Child Appreciation Kit

  • The Department of Defense and Military OneSource are recognizing military children for their strength, resilience, and uniqueness with a free appreciation kit.

  • This free kit is a little way to thank our military children for all that they do for the military community so our Families can thrive. Your free kit includes a drawstring backpack, photo frame magnet, chill drill, bookmark, and pop socket.

Mobile app may offer hope in times of distress

  • Virtual Hope Box is a mobile app solution that may help you and your Family members maintain one’s health and wellbeing.

  • The app is divided into sections – Remind Me, Distract Me, Inspire Me, Relax Me, Coping Tools and Support Contacts. 

  • “Right now we’re all experiencing the uncertainty of COVID-19; we’re stuck in the house; we’re facing so many constraints that we’re not used to. So, we may be feeling a lot of distress,” said Kelly Blasko, counseling psychologist and mHealth clinical integration lead at DHA’s Connected Health branch.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Juan Jose Mercado Mendez is an assistant manager for a major department store in Orlando, Fla. in his civilian capacity. As an Army Reserve Troop Program Unit (TPU) Soldier, Mercado serves as an Army motor transport operator (88M) for the 196th Transportation Company- Palletized Load System with prior experience as an Army multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer (25Q). 

“While it’s certainly a difficult time and tensions at home can run high, I believe we can all say that it [COVID-19 pandemic] has brought us all closer to our family and friends,” Mercado said. 

As a husband and father to three kids, Mercado and his wife, Amneris, have spent the duration of the pandemic at home, exercising as a family and taking time to do arts and crafts. 

When they’re not homeschooling their three kids, Mercado and Amneris take time to get to know each child better and talk about how important essential persons are during COVID-19. “We like to remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have and be appreciative of the super heroes still working the grocery stores and hospitals,” Mercado said. 

Mercado believes that the Army Value that has helped him most during the COVID-19 pandemic is Respect. “When going out in public, people should buy what they need. No more, no less; that way everyone can have the necessities,” Mercado said.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a free emergency contact system to help if you or a loved one is missing, injured, or has died. 

You can register at any time. Only emergency agencies registered with NOKR can view your information, but they can use it to contact your family when you can’t.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Can people who recover from COVID-19 be re-infected with SARS-CoV-2?

Answer:  The immune response, including duration of immunity, to SARS-CoV-2 infection is not yet understood. Patients with MERS-CoV are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.

Unemployment spikes due to COVID-19 

  • To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.

  • The CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Update your Emergency Record Data (DD Form 93)

  • As COVID-19 continues to develop, it’s important for all Soldiers’ emergency data on their DD Form 93 to be current and accurate.

  • Contact your unit Army Reserve Administrator (ARA) to review and verify your current DD Form 93.

ADPAAS: Report Soldier and Family Safety

  • The U.S. Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS) is a tool used by the 143d ESC to account and monitor the recovery process for Soldiers and their Families affected and/or scattered by a wide-spread catastrophic event.

  • Accessing ADPAAS does not require a CAC.  Soldiers will report current status for themselves and their Family members (if applicable). 

  • If you identify in ADPAAS of needing support services, the closest Family Programs office is notified and will contact you to provide assistance.

Month of the Military Child: 2020 Call for the Arts

  • Military children in grades K-12 are invited to submit entries for the 2020 Call For The Arts (CFA)! 

  • CFA hopes to provide children a means of self-expression and reflection – a safe, creative outlet to process their emotions and make sense of their world from the disruptive impact of COVID-19 in their lives. 

  • Download the Call for the Arts submission form.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. 1st Class Alberto Corchado is a motor transport operator (88M) serving as an operations noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) for the 196th Transportation Company - Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla. 

Since the start of COVID-19, Corchado has worked in making sure all 196th Soldiers are taken care of and operations remain squared away. 

Although the coronavirus has shifted daily life for everyone, Corchado continues to telework from home while remaining resilient. “I love taking care of our Soldiers. They always come first and that is my number one priority right now,” said Corchado. He attributes his sense of duty and selfless service to the Army and is proud to continue serving the 196th Soldiers. 

When Corchado isn’t handling operations tasks, he is spending quality time with his wife, Jessica, who is an operating room nurse and their three dogs, Ana, Elsa and Olaf.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a way for people affected by a disaster to enter information regarding their welfare so family and friends can check their status.

You can register yourself as “safe and well” or search to find loved ones.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Which body fluids can spread COVID-19?

Answer:  SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in upper and lower respiratory tract specimens, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been isolated from upper respiratory tract specimens and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in blood and stool specimens, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been isolated in cell culture from the stool of some patients, including a patient with pneumonia 15 days after symptom onset. The duration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in upper and lower respiratory tract specimens and in extrapulmonary specimens is not yet known but may be several weeks or longer. Duration of several weeks or longer has been observed in cases of MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV infection. While viable, infectious SARS-CoV has been isolated from respiratory, blood, urine, and stool specimens, viable, infectious MERS-CoV has only been isolated from respiratory tract specimens. It is not yet known whether other non-respiratory body fluids from an infected person including vomit, urine, breast milk, or semen can contain viable, infectious SARS-CoV-2.

Stimulus Payments

  • Economic Impact Payments, also known as stimulus payments, have been delivered to direct deposits since last Friday, Apr. 10th, and more are expected to see a deposit in their bank accounts today.

  • Check your payment status as some individuals may need to update their direct deposit information.

  • Not sure if you are eligible for Economic Impact Payment? Check to see if you qualify

Travel Restrictions Extension

  • The Secretary of Defense, Dr. Mark T. Esper briefed on Tuesday, Apr. 14th during a Pentagon press conference that the travel restrictions initially set from Mar. 16th to May 11th will possibly be extended. 

  • “While I understand the impact this has on our troops and their Families this is a necessary measure to keep our people safe and our military ready to act,” Esper said.

  • Reference the current Department of Defense travel restrictions.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Protects Soldiers

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law designed to ease financial burdens on Soldiers while serving.

  • Soldiers and their Families could become locked into a lease agreement due to the COVID-19 DoD travel restrictions. SCRA allows individuals to break a lease when they go onto active duty, if the lease was entered into before going onto active duty. 

  • "Since COVID-19 has come to our shores, active-duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserve have shouldered new burdens as they work to protect our country," said Mr. Eric S. Dreiband, the assistant attorney general with the Civil Rights Division.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Joseph Alers Cruz serves as a wheeled vehicle mechanic (91B) assigned to the 196th Transportation Company - Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla. 

In his civilian capacity, Cruz serves as a Department of Defense military-technician (Mil-Tech) for heavy mobile equipment in Miami, Fla. 

While COVID-19 has certainly affected everyone, Cruz believes that “this is only temporary and better things come after a storm. Not having access to a gym is a big bummer but it has reminded me that we can always get a workout outside and in the fresh air.” 

When he isn’t working out, Cruz remains an essential personnel and is proud to continue supporting the mission of the units as an equipment repairer while making sure to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE)  in order to avoid spreading the coronavirus.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

The Department of Defense is committed to the safety & well-being of service members, their partners & families. 

If you are in an unhealthy relationship please know that you are not alone. 

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 or visit https://go.usa.gov/xvWqq.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: When is someone infectious of COVID-19?

Answer:  The onset and duration of viral shedding and the period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet known. It is possible that SARS-CoV-2 RNA may be detectable in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset, similar to infections with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. However, detection of viral RNA does not necessarily mean that infectious virus is present. There are reports of asymptomatic infections (detection of virus with no development of symptoms) and pre-symptomatic infections (detection of virus prior to development of symptoms) with SARS-CoV-2, but their role in transmission is not yet known. Based on existing literature, the incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses (e.g. MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV) ranges from 2–14 days.

What platform are we using for Virtual Battle Assembly?

  • The Department of Defense created the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) Environment to support the Department’s move towards a large-scale telework application during the COVID-19 national emergency. 

  • Make sure to check your military email for the welcome email from info@email.cvr.mil for you account information.

  • This new tool will provide the Department of Defense employees with a secure way to conduct video conferencing and baseline applications to conduct Virtual Battle Assembly and other telework activities in replacement for such video conferencing platforms such as GoToMeeting or Zoom.

  • Here is a Log-on Guide for the CVR Environment using Microsoft Teams. This guide has three sections to help you set up your CVR Environment account.

Expired and expiring CACs

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many Army and DoD personnel to renew expiring CACs and USID cards. 

  • Individuals whose Common Access Card (CAC) expires within 30 days will be able to get a new card at a CAC Identification (ID) card office or renew the CAC remotely. 

  • Additional information on CAC and USID card issuance and renewal changes is available at CAC.mil/coronavirus.

Medical Warfighters

  • Soldiers within the 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support) (MCDS) were mobilized within one week and will be sent to various areas as a part of a non-doctrinal unit, working within uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments.

  • "Never in the history of the United States military has medical been the warfighter, but we are the warfighter," says 3d MCDS Commanding General Maj. Gen. Joe D. Robinson. "We are the tip of the spear." 

  • If you are a medical professional and are interested in mobilizing to support the COVID-19 response efforts, contact the 143d ESC G3 MOB office.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

 

Spc. David Narvaez serves as a motor transport operator (88M) for the 196th Transportation Company - Palletized Load System and an Army Reserve bugler.  

Due to COVID-19, Narvaez has found himself following stay-at-home orders and staying physically fit during his time at home. 

“Thanks to the Army, I know how to remain resilient and motivated during difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. I find myself highly motivated to get my daily exercise done and have maintained a routine throughout the duration of this pandemic. I think it helps to create a routine and stick to it, otherwise, we run the risk of becoming lazy and depressed,” said Narvaez.

 


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

GasBuddy. Find out which gas stations near you have gas and which gas stations have the best prices. 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Who is at risk for infection with the virus that causes COVID-19? 

Answer: Currently, those at greatest risk of infection are persons who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 and those who live in or have recently been to areas with sustained transmission.

Military Spouse Monday

  • Today, Maj. Jenna Russel, Director of Education, U.S. Army Soldier for Life, announced the following events: 

    • COVID-19 Military Support Initiative Town Hall. Working as One Community - How the Military, States, and Local Governments are Working Together to Respond to COVID-19. Scheduled tomorrow, Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2020, from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EDT). Register for the town hall.

    • 2020 Virtual Military Spouse Symposium. No matter where you are in your career, this two-day event can help you imagine where your career path can go and build a plan to achieve that vision. Join to take advantage of a powerful community and set of resources, all for free to military spouses.

We’re Hiring!

  • Join the fight against COVID-19. Opportunities to assist at USA Jobs.

  • The Federal Government is hiring across a wide range of career fields to help respond to the COVID-19 national emergency. These mission-critical jobs will have a direct impact on the American people and the government's response to COVID-19.

Strengthening Forces

  • More than 1,200 members of the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Team continues to prepare to serve the Nation in their fight against COVID-19. 

  • Medical providers transitioning from civilian employment to active duty require their medical credentials to be verified and validated to assure they are properly privileged to treat patients.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

 

Spc. Federico Ortiz Jr. serves as an Army Motor Transport Operator for the 196th Transportation Company-Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla.

As an essential worker during COVID-19 at an Orlando Health Hospital, Ortiz helps maintain the hospital grounds and handles critical maintenance.

“Thanks to the Army and the selfless service it has instilled in me, I am able to care for my mother and handle essential maintenance needed at the hospital. I also find myself applying attention to detail when it comes to uniforms and personal protective equipment so that we can all minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said Ortiz.

 


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Give an Hour’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteer professionals capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society and provide free and confidential mental health care to those who serve, our veterans,  and their families. Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction want to underscore the importance of your mental health during COVID-19. Here are some resources for your emotional health as well as your physical health! Fill out this form to receive copies of Emotional Well-Being Resources.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

Answer:  No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection. 

N95 Masks Increased Production 

  • $133 million investment will increase U.S. domestic N95 mask production by over 39 million over the next 90 days.

  • The increased production will ensure the U.S. Government gets dedicated long term industrial capacity to meet the needs of the nation. 

Expanded Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

  • Americans with private health insurance have coverage for diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing, at no cost.

  • “Today’s action under the leadership of President Trump allows millions of Americans to access the vital health services they need to fight COVID-19, including antibody testing once it becomes widely available.” 

  • TPU Soldiers and their dependents can also still enroll in the TRICARE Reserve Select.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Sgt. Jashuel Flores is a signal support systems specialist with the 912th Adjutant General Company.  Flores resides in Orlando, Fla. where a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and a stay at home order are in place to ensure the safety of Orlando residences and to contribute in flattening the COVID-19 curve. 

“It is important to keep yourself busy, physically and mentally, when a quarantine or curfew is set in place," Flores said. 

"Living in Orlando most of my life, I have been through quite a few hurricanes that have wiped out power for weeks. Luckily we have electricity and we get to spend our time focusing on things that we may not have had the opportunity to accomplish in our regular routines. Spending time with loved ones, maintaining fitness at home and doing hobbies is a great way to pass the time while this event [COVID-19] develops.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Rent AssistanceRent Assistance lists thousands of local agencies and non-profit organizations that can help you pay your rent or find a better rate. Most government agencies will assist you with finding a rental that participates in their subsidy program. Many non-governmental and non-profit agencies will assist you with emergency rental funds so you can stay in the rental that you already live in. Most of the time funds are paid directly to the landlord. Be prepared to provide proof of residence and financial need. 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?

Answer:  Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care. 

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, clarifies guidance on personal protective equipment and reinforces the importance of wearing PPE to protect our Soldiers and the future readiness of the Army.

  • Subdued and professional looking face coverings. No profane, distracting or unprofessional looking designs while in uniform.

Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Army scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have been working with researchers from across the globe on COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Six possible vaccines have shown the most promise; four are being tested on animals, and two on human subjects, says Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

Spc. Chris Abbate, an Army motor transport operator for the 196th Transportation Company- Palletized Load System in Orlando, Fla, a line handler for a cruise lines, and father to two boys, Julian and Grayson.

Spc. Abbate has remained in the front lines in order to help maintain Port Canaveral docks and receive cargo ships with supplies.  Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo and naval port in Brevard County, Fla.

“I’m glad to be part of a military that is willing to help out a Soldier during a time like this,” said Spc. Abbate in reference to all of the aid and reassurance the U.S. Army has provided for Soldiers during the COVID-19 crisis.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

FoodPantries.org is a site that provides information on food closets, food banks, soup kitchens and other food resources by inputting your state and city. Those affected by financial hardship due to the virus may find relief through various organizations listed.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question: Is COVID-19 airborne?

Answer:  The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. 

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 meter of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.

143d ESC COVID-19 guidance update

  • "I want to thank everyone for your professionalism and adaptability during these past few weeks," states Brig. Gen. Pamela McGaha, 143d ESC commanding general.  Read more.

You can still reenlist and request an extension

  • Exception to policy dating Apr. 1, 2020, allows the last Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) recorded, regardless of date, to be used for reenlistment.

  • Soldiers currently flagged for APFT failure may still request an extension.

  • Physical Health Assessments (PHA) requirement for reenlistment is suspended for the remainder of the fiscal year.

U.S. Army Reserve Command hand release push-up challenge!

  • Join us by posting your video on Instagram then tagging @usarmyreserve, @143esc and 20 battles. Don't forget to include #USARBirthday112 and #20TimeZones2020.  Your video might be featured on the U.S. Army Reserve Instagram stories!

Army Reserve medical Soldiers mobilize stateside

  • Eight Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) are mobilizing to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to assist the U.S. Army North, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services at federal medical sites in cities across the nation.
  • The UAMTFs are made up of Soldiers from the Army Reserve’s 3rd and 807th Medical Commands (Deployment Support), and Army Reserve Medical Command.
     
  • Last month, the Army reached out to approximately 800,000 retired Soldiers, gray-area Soldiers and Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers, asking them to join the response effort with 25,000 volunteers responding to the call.

SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

 

Capt. Demetria Haywood, an assistant supply officer with the 641st Regional Support Group in St. Petersburg, Fla. leads the way in the COVID-19 crisis serving as a registered nurse in her civilian capacity.

“Everyday is different as a registered nurse in Clearwater, Fla. since COVID-19 started. Policies and situations change often to combat the virus within the hospital. The biggest change I have personally seen is the genuine care and friendly attitude toward nurses from the actual patients,” Haywood said.

“I have never had so many patients ask me if I am okay and ask about my family. Patients usually don’t do that. To see the community come together during this time is really uplifting. Since the quarantine. I talk to my parents daily. I have been deployed and I still have not talked to them as much since the virus, so reaching out to family and the community is important.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Ready - Make a PlanA tool used to establish a family meeting place and execute a plan during an emergency. Available online, this tool allows practice for unseen circumstances with the whole family.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question:  Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?

Answer:  Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.


  • The Army is looking for retired Reserve Soldiers who are interested in supporting our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The neck gaiter and other cloth items used as face coverings, such as bandanas and scarves, are authorized to be worn.   The cloth face covering must cover the mouth and nose, and extend to the chin or below, as well as extend to the sides of the face. Soldiers will not wear cloth face coverings that have printed wording; profane, racist, demeaning or derogatory logos, script or imagery. Soldiers will not attempt cutting clothing materials, such as Army Combat Uniforms, to use for cloth face coverings as uniforms may have been treated with chemicals.

  • All current valid passing Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) scores are extended until further notice. Current passing APFT score and height and weight (HT/WT) is valid for use as the APFT and HT/WT pre-requisite for professional military education (enlisted and officer), functional courses, operational course credit consideration, or distant learning/education requirements.

  • Soldiers who need to complete their evaluation and are unable to take a record due to the COVID-19 outbreak will select “NO APFT” from the drop down menu in Evaluation Entry System (EES), the rater will explain the absence of APFT data in the provided comments section.  Lack of APFT due to COVID-19 will not result in a derogatory or referred report.

  • For those enrolled in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI),  your coverage is still in effect while Virtual Battle Assembly is being conducted.


SOLDIER SPOTLIGHT

143d ESC Crisis Action Team

The 143d ESC is operating with mission essential personnel to support the response to COVID-19.  Capt Tiffany Quinn, Officer in Charge, and Sgt. 1st Class Javier Santiago, Noncommisioned Officer in Charge, are leading the way as the headquarters Crises Action Team (CAT).

What is the Crisis Action Team? 

“The CAT is responsible for supporting subordinate units with assistance relating to COVID-19. We are responsible for receiving information based on cases that happen within the unit pertaining to the virus and passing on that information to our higher headquarters,” said Capt. Tiffany Quinn, Crisis Action Team (CAT) Officer in Charge, 143d ESC.

The CAT is expected to be in operation from now until all COVID-19 requirements from the U.S. Army Reserve Command are accomplished.


RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Career Training Program for Service Members and Families Goes Online Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Onward to Opportunity, a career training and professional certification program, allows transitioning service members, veterans and spouses to maintain progress toward post-service, in-demand careers during the COVID-19 shutdown.


QUESTION OF THE DAY

If Reserve family members demonstrate a need for COVID-19 testing, where should they go?

According to TRICARE’s Coronavirus FAQ’s:

You only have to get tested if you show symptoms of COVID-19.  Your healthcare provider will make that decision based on your exposure risk, symptoms, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. There is a screening process to determine who should get tested.

If you have a civilian provider, TRICARE will cover the costs of the test if your provider determines it’s medically appropriate and the request meets the screening criteria.


What's going on around the Army?

The shipment of future soldiers has been temporarily paused. Those currently in Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training will continue training towards graduation and continue to their duty station assignments. However, pre-basic future soldiers will have to wait to start their careers until leaders determine the safest manner to conduct training. This will be in effect for at least two weeks. “One of TRADOC’s main focuses is to develop leaders by accessing, training and educating Soldiers,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk, II, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. 

New to face mask covering?

Because surgical face masks and other personal protective equipment are in short supply in the healthcare arena across the United States, the CDC advises that homemade cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • Include multiple layers of fabric;
  • Allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape.

It is also advised not to fashion face masks from uniforms that have been treated with chemicals such as fire-retardant operational camouflage patterns.


UNIT SPOTLIGHT
641st RSG Virtual Battle AssemblyThe 641st RSG conducted its first Virtual Battle Assembly that trained 133 soldiers via a web conferencing platform from home. This allowed TPU soldiers to receive training and pay while aligning with COVID-19 social precautions. Although there were some “improves” to the training based on the after action report, the “sustains” greatly outweighed the cons as an alternative traditional Battle Assembly. 

Soldier feedback has taken well and seems to be a great secondary means of training during the pandemic.

Awesome training today. Very impressed with all the content that was presented.”

“Thank you! This class is so important right now, and you NAILED it.”


RESOURCE OF THE DAY
Are you and your dependents concerned about your personal health, you can call the Military Health System nurse advice line 24/7 by phone, web chat and video chat. 

Call 1-800-874-2273 and select option 1.

 


QUESTION OF THE DAY

Question:How did the first human SARS-CoV-2 infections occur?

Answer: The first human cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected with SARS-CoV-2.

However, SARS-CoV, the virus which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, jumped from an animal reservoir (civet cats, a farmed wild animal) to humans and then spread between humans. In a similar way, it is thought that SARS-CoV-2 jumped the species barrier and initially infected humans, but more likely through an intermediate host, that is another animal species more likely to be handled by humans - this could be a domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet, has not been identified.

Until the source of this virus is identified and controlled, there is a risk of reintroduction of the virus in the human population and the risk of new outbreaks like the ones we are currently experiencing.

Masks in uniform?

  • Effective immediately, face coverings are required to be worn. The Secretary of Defense issues memo regarding preventative measures to combat the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). All Department of Defense (DoD) and Military Personnel are required to wear face cloth coverings or other medical type masks when on DoD property and installations. 

Who does this effect?

  • DoD personnel, Military, civilian contractors, and even family members that happen to be on DoD property. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a face covering in public areas, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Exceptions to the requirement are permitted when at a family home residence on a military installation. Any additional exception may be authorized by local commanders and must be submitted to the chain of command. Security checkpoints may also allow for lowering of a mask for identification purposes.

Why wear a mask?

  • It is possible to be infected with the virus and not have any symptoms. Therefore, wearing a mask will lower the chance of spreading the contagion and protect those uninfected. Medical Masks such as N95 respirators or surgical masks will not be issued. All personnel are encouraged to find their own means for face coverings such as household items, common materials that include clean cloth or fabrics if masks are unavailable for purchase. Face covering should not be confused with Medical masks as the quality of protection varies. At a minimum, the CDC recommends some type of face covering.

Battle Assemblies turned virtual

  • Effective immediately, LTG Luckey, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, authorizes the use of Virtual Battle Assemblies (VBAs) for all Army Reserve Troop Program Unit (TPU) Commands. VBAs have been put in place to ensure Soldiers have the maximum means to maintain individual Soldier readiness, build resiliency, and provide stability and security to our Soldiers and families.

How to telework

  • Effective immediately, telework guidance should be provided for all personnel in the Army Reserve workplace. This guidance applies to all Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians in the Army Reserve.

*** Updated by 6:00 p.m. (EDT) ****

    

143D ESC CRISIS ACTION TEAM:
407-495-7580

U.S. ARMY COVID-19 HOTLINE:
1-800-984-8523
OCONUS DSN: 312-421-3700
CONUS DSN: 421-3700

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COVID-19 State Resources

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