From left, Treva Anderson, a Master Resilience Trainer with Fort Jackson’s Ready & Resilient Performance Center, Dr. Rachael Nelson of Moncrief Army Health Clinic’s Department of Behavioral Health, Brig. Gen. Milford H. ‘Beags’ Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeremiah Gan, the installa tion command sergeant major speak to audience members during the CG’s Virtual Community Town Hall on Special Topics April 16. Fort Jackson holds virtual town halls every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. to update the community about the post’s response to COVID-19, and to answer any comments or concerns they have. The next virtual town hall can be viewed at the Facebook page of Fort Jackson’s Commanding General at www.facebook.com/FortJacksonCommandingGeneral/.
By Alexandra Shea Fort Jackson Leader
New changes to Fort Jackson operations were announced during the latest virtual town hall hosted April 16 by U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford “Beags” Beagle Jr., and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Jerimiah Gan.
The newest changes Beagle announced were the continued shipment of Basic Combat Training graduates to their Advanced Individual Training site. Soldiers who are able to be transported by bus are shipped weekly to installations in Virginia, Georgia and Maryland.
Trainees waiting to ship to other installations by air transport will remain at Fort Jackson as air movement planning continues, he added.
“Ground transportation is going very well. They are very secure and sterile transportation means and are safe.” Beagle said. “Air, we aren’t quite there yet. It will take us a couple of weeks to get us to the point of air transportation.”
Beagle explained the delay in shipping trainees by air is due to the level of coordination with various entities to arrange flights that can be secured and sanitized.
Another change came April 19 as trainees resume shipping to Basic Combat Training. New trainees are required to be screened by their recruiting battalion and provide proof of quarantine before reporting to Military Entrance Processing Stations where they will be screened again.
“A lot of things have been added to keep our Soldiers and new recruits safe,” Beagle said. “We safely get them in and screen them properly and make sure it is safe for them as well as the workforce and cadre that supports us.”
Beagle also announced the arrival of Bio-Fire and GeneXpert equipment to Moncrief Army Health Clinic to facilitate rapid COVID-19 testing on a limited basis.
No additional changes to The Exchange or Commissary hours, limited quantity items or spending restrictions were announced during the town hall. Retirees and their Family members, not residing on the installation, will continue to use these facilities on Tuesday and Friday.
Beagle and Gan were joined by Treva Anderson a Master Resilience Trainer with Fort
Jackson’s Ready & Resilient Performance Center and Dr. Rachael Nelson both from Moncrief Army Health Clinic’s Department of Behavioral Health.
They explained ways of remaining resilient during the pandemic and how to cope with stressors stemming from solitary isolation or long term isolation with family members.
“We as human beings crave connection with others,” Anderson said. “It tends to cause a lot of anxiety dealing with social isolation.”
Nelson listed a number of coping mechanisms that included:
· Focus on things that you have control over including personal thoughts and feelings.
· Find “the good in your day,” no matter how small.
· Seek ways to help others.
· Practice mindful breathing and relaxation exercises to help maintain control of personal thoughts and feelings.
· Find and create humor.
· If social media or news causes stress, limit or restrict exposure or amount of time viewing these sites.
· Be mindful of placing pressure on one’s self such as learning or creating something new.
· Continue routines such as the time you wake up, perform personal hygiene and eat meals.
· Schedule a social interaction during the day such as a video call with Family members.
· Get exercise throughout the day such as a walk or stream an aerobic class.
· Remember you are not alone in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, we are all dealing with this together.
“You are not alone,” Nelson said.
As the town hall came to an end, Beagle and Gan answered viewer’s questions and addressed their concerns.
A top question asked about a rumor for National Guard members returning home after completing Basic Combat Training.
“It depends,” Beagle said. “If your Soldier’s contract is split option, they will return home. It only applies to National Guard and Reserve (Soldiers).”
A “split option” contract for National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve service members means a Soldier will attend BCT and return to their homes after completion before attending Advanced Individual Training. While this option is mostly seen with service members who are high school and college students, not every National Guard or Reserve Soldier has a contract such as this.
Beagle encouraged trainee’s Family members to ask their Soldier if they have a split option contract to know if they will return home after they complete BCT.
Another popular question asked included mail shipment to trainees and if Family members could continue to send mail to trainees in a hold over status.
“It is a good practice to stop shipping mail two weeks prior to graduation,” Gan said. “Even with our hold over process. The process is getting much quicker.”
Once a trainee graduates BCT, any unclaimed mail is returned to the sender. The process of returning unclaimed mail for trainees could take several weeks.
“We want to keep you informed and be transparent with you,” Beagle said. “We can’t thank you enough for tuning in to keep informed. We will be right back here next week at the same time.”
The next virtual town hall will be held Thursday at 3:30 p.m. on the Fort Jackson Commanding General Facebook page.