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An update from the wing commander on latest COVID-19 response efforts

Col. Raul Rosario

Col. Raul Rosario Bio Photo

Gunfighters,

First, I would like to say a big THANK YOU! Each one of you plays a vital role in keeping our wing and our families safe, and I have heard countless stories of your resiliency and success in these trying times. I also wanted to provide you an update on our combined efforts in response to COVID-19.

My highest priority remains maintaining a healthy and ready force that can respond to state and/or federal tasks. Our most important role as Citizen Soldiers is to be ready to respond to Governor Abbott and to National Guard civil support directives in order to protect our communities.

We need everyone’s help in continuing to follow CDC hygiene guidelines so we do not compromise our state response posture and can minimize the risk of infection. Remember, if you feel sick, stay home.

Continue to adhere to social distancing while at the same time staying connected. Social distance is about physical proximity, not emotional distance. Fortunately, with today’s technology, we have many virtual options to stay plugged in to each other’s lives. Let’s take advantage of that during this time.

For your convenience, I have listed some quick informational highlights below to keep you updated with the latest happenings at our unit.

Haven Remote: As we increase the number of teleworking personnel, continue to reach out to your wingmen in support. Our outstanding team of DPH (210-415-5788), SARC (210-254-6412), Chaplains (210-793-5201 or 210-251-5729), Yellow Ribbon Support (210-243-1188), Airman & Family Readiness (210-861-4017) are all available.

HPCON: JBSA has raised the Health Protection level to CHARLIE. The number of positive COVID-19 cases on JBSA continues to change, so please follow our social media pages to stay up to date with the latest information.

  • Under HPCON CHARLIE: Fitness centers, MWR centers including golf course and the library are closed. The Child Development Center will have modified operations.
  • Growden Gate hours remain unaffected.
  • Wilford Hall/BAMC: Call for status of your appointment before you show. Expect to be screened before entering facilities.
  • For daily updates visit www.jbsa.mil/Information/CDC-Novel-Coronavirus-Response-Support/ or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/149FW/ (149th FW), www.facebook.com/TexasMilitaryDepartment/ (TMD), or www.facebook.com/JointBaseSanAntonio/ (JBSA)

149th Facilities:

  • All 149th members at Lackland will maximize “shelter in place.” Visiting other work areas within the wing needs to be for mission essential purposes. Practice social distancing and call ahead for facility access.
  • Building managers will limit access to buildings during normal business hours to mission essential visitors.
  • Building managers are to post HPCON condition and contact number to access facility.
  • Customer service will be by appointment and for 149th members only.

Telework & Social Distancing:

  • We will aggressively continue increasing the number of telework personnel.
  • Per NORTHCOM directive, we will not congregate in break areas, smoke areas, or use elevators. Although we are keeping break areas open for storage of personal meals and use of microwave, we must not congregate in these areas.
  • Do not conduct non-essential meetings face-to-face.
  • There will be a minimum of six feet of separation and maximum of 10 personnel for mission essential meetings.
  • Please minimize use of VPN unless necessary. For email, use Outlook Web Access.

Work Schedule:

  • We will soon be transitioning to an adjusted flying schedule for our Operations and Maintenance groups and organizations directly supporting flying operations. The adjusted schedule that leadership has put in place will allow us to reduce the number of personnel required to be present but still allow us to get our essential mission training completed. Contact your supervisor for more information regarding this adjustment.
  • All support agencies not directly supporting flying operations will remain on current schedule, but will maximize telework.

Events: April drill has been cancelled, but we are developing a plan to maintain our readiness and make up our regularly scheduled drills, so stay tuned for more information to come on that. Currently, all community events, congressional engagements, graduation ceremonies, and conferences are suspended until further notice to minimize the risk to exposure.

Fitness Assessments: Effective immediately, all Official Fitness Assessment Testing is suspended until June 2020. If you are due in the next few months, call your supervisor to find out when you are expected to test. Fitness Testing is expected to resume on June 1 unless further guidance becomes available.

Leave: Travel limitations continue to change as health professionals update the risk of infection in the local area. Please contact your supervisor if you are planning to take leave for the latest guidelines.

Stay in Touch: Understand that this situation continues to evolve, so please stay in constant contact with your supervisor and those in your chain of command, especially pertaining to things like leave status, health concerns, telework documentation, pay issues, readiness questions, etc. If in doubt about anything, we are just a phone call away so please communicate early and often. We want to help. 

Finally, I understand that these are challenging times for all of us. We are working around the clock to take care of you and your families while continuing to serve our community that is in great need of our support. Never forget that as military members we must provide stability and reassurance to those living in our communities. I have every confidence that thanks to your uncompromised excellence, we will overcome the challenges we are now facing. We are all in this together. For now, let us make sure we remain healthy, remain safe, remain calm, and always stand ready to serve our community!

Gunfighter 1