By Devon L. Suits
| Army News Service | March 31, 2020
Krystal Moore, a licensed practical nurse, takes the temperature of a Soldier during a secondary screening on March 24, 2020, at Madigan Army Medical Center's Winder Clinic on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash. Winder Clinic has been designated as the JBLM enhanced COVID-19 screening site. (Photo by John Wayne Liston) (Photo by U.S. Army)
More than 14,000 retired Soldiers have already shown interest in returning to active duty after the Army recently reached out to over 800,000 of them to assist in the COVID-19 pandemic response, G-1 officials said Friday.
"The U.S. Army is actively seeking retired officers, noncommissioned officers, and other Soldiers to assist with COVID-19 pandemic response efforts," officials said in a statement. "When the nation called, they have answered, and now that call has come again. This extraordinary challenge requires equally extraordinary solutions."
The Army is currently looking for the following medical specialties:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville also announced Thursday that two Army hospitals are heading to New York and expected to start treating non-COVID-19 patients by Monday, as part of an interagency approach to help decrease the burden on state healthcare facilities.
The 531st Hospital Center at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and the 9th Hospital from Fort Hood, Texas, are expected to set up at the Javits Center this weekend, McConville said during a Pentagon press briefing.
Soldiers with the 627th Hospital at Fort Carson, Colorado, are also slated to deploy to Washington state on Sunday, McConville added.
An advance party arrived in the state on Wednesday and started coordinating with local officials to determine a suitable hospital location. Overall, the units will provide close to 300 hospital beds in New York and about 250 beds in Washington, he said.
"Soldiers that are called upon to deploy -- in this case here to support the government and our nation -- we look at cross leveling within [Army] Medical Command," said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle.
With portions of the active-duty force deployed, the Army looks to leverage the recalled volunteers and its reserve force to support impacted medical treatment facilities to ensure the readiness of the force.
Protecting U.S citizens from COVID-19 requires a vital call to action, Army officials said in a separate message to the retired Soldiers.
Return to service
Former active and Army Reserve Soldiers who have been retired for less than five years must meet the necessary certifications and eligibility criteria before returning to service, officials said. By law, retirees currently serving in key medical positions cannot be recalled into service, as their absence could impact current state medical operations.
If a Soldier is selected to return to service, their retirement pay will stop, as the Army places them on active-duty pay. A Soldier's length of tour and location would be based on the needs of the force, officials said.
Recalled Soldiers will not be eligible for promotion, and the Army will consider waivers for those who cannot meet current height and weight requirements, officials said. Uniforms will be determined at a later date, as Army leaders continue to develop an onboarding process for returned personnel.
Once a Soldier's service is complete, their years of service would be recalculated, which could increase their retirement pay.
"We're asking our ‘Soldier for Life’ family to once again answer the call to duty and rejoin our ranks for this noble cause," officials said. "If you are interested in becoming an important part of the solution against this pandemic, please visit Army Human Resources Command website … for more information and to apply. It would be our honor to have you on the Army team again."
For more information, see retiree recall guidance or the retiree recall survey.