Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Butler, 193rd Infantry Brigade senior enlisted leader, second from the left, speaks during the Commanding General’s Virtual Town Hall on Special Topics Nov. 5. Butler answered various questions including if COVID-positive Soldiers will go on Victory Block Leave. Joining him on the panel is (from left) Command Sgt. Maj. Roberto Guadarrama, 165th Infantry Brigade senior enlisted leader, Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. ‘Beags’ Beagle Jr., and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier. (Screenshot)
By Leslie Ann Sully Fort Jackson Public Affairs
Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle, Jr. hosted the 24th COVID-19 town hall Nov. 5 with Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier, along with the senior enlisted leaders of the193rd Infantry and 165th Infantry brigades: Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Butler and Command Sgt. Maj. Roberto Guadarrama.
The format was changed and condensed and Beagle asked for feedback. “We have cut it down today because we found we were losing viewers after the 30 minute mark,” he said.
Beagle characterized the town hall audience that “we feed” information to every two weeks as extended Family members, the local community and the workforce on post.
He announced the two Basic Combat Training brigade commanders will join him at the next town hall which will focus on Victory Block Leave do’s and don’ts.
“You will get to see your Soldiers during the holiday – please keep them safe and send them back safely so they can continue training,” Tavernier said when asked if their trainees were participating in block leave.
When the days the trainees are purchasing their tickets come, they have their phones to call home and provide that information to their Families, Tavernier added.
One question asked to the panel was about how trainees will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Soldier come in but leaders serve during that day,” Beagle said. “That is our connection to show a tangible example of servant leadership. It really freaks the trainees out when they see it—a drill sergeant now serving them. “
Questions from previous town halls were address as well.
Butler answered a question asking about trainees and holiday leave if they are in the COVID-19 bay.
“If they are already in the COVID bay, they will not be about to go on block leave,” said Butler, with 193rd Infantry Brigade. “The reason they are in the bay is because our medical team deemed them positive of COVID and still contagious so we would not be able to send them out on public transportation and Victory Block Leave.”
Butler explained fares will be refunded if someone has bought a ticket and becomes positive.
“The medical team will be clearing people out of the COVID bay all through the Victory Block Leave so we can keep Soldiers moving forward,” he said.
“We have an obligation to take into account everyone’s health and welfare,” Guadarrama added.
Another question about Soldiers at the airport.
“If you see pictures of Soldiers in the airport, even in civilian clothes, they are coming in (to Fort Jackson),” Beagle said. “Our Soldiers that leave are put on a sterilized bus and that bus goes to the plane.”
He reminded the audience that other people in uniform might be at the airport but not our trainee.
Beagle said he was glad to see optimistic comments posted during the event, especially one that said their trainee was friends with another trainee.
“It is about connections,” he said about BCT. “You learn and understand from each other and clarify things with each other.”
Optimism trumps pessimism, he said.
“There is nothing that is going to help us by being pessimistic and skeptical about what is happening,” Beagle said.
Another question asked post plans for in-person learning at Fort Jackson schools.
“The goal is, if we can mitigate all the risks, and plan as we are doing now, is to start back in January,” Beagle said. “Everything we have brought back on line at Fort Jackson to date, 214 out of 251 programs and services, none of it we have had to stop.”
Full video of the town hall is available for viewing on the Fort Jackson Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fortjackson. The next town hall will air 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19.