SAN ANTONIO – In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. Air Force plans a revised approach to how recruits enter the training pipeline at JBSA-Lackland.
According to a news release, new recruits will be brought in on a four-week repeating cycle that includes stringent restricted movement guidelines, dedicated time for deep cleaning between rotations and the testing of an alternate training location at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. JBSA-Lackland currently is the only training site for trainees.
Under the plan, between 650 to 800 trainees will report for basic military training during the first two weeks and immediately enter into a 14-day restriction of movement protocol. Trainees will prepare for full-scale training and complete administrative tasks and limited training objectives, while practicing social distancing and small group contact during the 14 days, the news release said.
After March 31, 460 trainees will arrive at JBSA-Lackland each week, while implementing COVID-19 mitigation measures. Precautions include deep-cleaning dormitories, dining facilities and other infrastructure, in line with CDC guidance, as well as help reset the military training instructor cadre. Plans are underway to send 60 trainees to Keesler AFB to prove the plan works and can be used at multiple training locations.
“We are deliberately developing options to disperse the delivery of BMT during contingencies to provide surge capacity and introduce agility into the training pipeline construct,” said Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander. “This will also help provide relief to the military training instructor staff and ease the strain on our BMT infrastructure.”
The contingency option is designed to be implemented along a 180-day timeline and could be used for longer periods, but it’s not intended to be a long-term fixture, Tullos said.
Also, all trainee graduations will remain private and closed to the public, with Thursday graduation ceremonies being livestreamed on the USAF Basic Military Training Facebook page.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
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