A “General Order Number 1” has been issued by the commander of the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker.
Maj. Gen. David J. Francis issued the order April 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and said it will be rescinded when conditions have improved.
“The COVID 19 has reached out doorsteps and our disciplined execution of this order is essential over the next two weeks,” Francis said in a Facebook live news conference announcing the general order.
Francis also thanked local mayors and the communities surrounding the military installation for their support and understanding as the Home of Army Aviation leadership strives “to protect our critical mission and each other here at Fort Rucker.
“As we continually assess the situation of the threat of COVID-19 to Fort Rucker and our surrounding communities, our state and federal medical experts assess that it will accelerate and peak over the next two weeks,” Francis said. “This action protects the force here at Fort Rucker and continues to provide critical aviation capability to our deploying forces.”
In the general order, Francis cited additional control measures to be added to the list of control measures previously in place.
“We are pausing portions of Initial Rotary Wing training for two weeks beginning April 6,” he said. “We will continue those flight courses critical to the readiness of our operational forces who continue to deploy around the world.”
All travel for military members is restricted and all soldiers who live on post are restricted from leaving the installation, except out of necessity. “Necessity is limited to healthcare needs, grocery shopping, take- out foods and essential postal, banking, laundry services, home repairs, auto parts/repairs and gas stations,” Francis said.
All soldiers who live off post may only travel between their place of residence and Fort Rucker to perform their military or work duties or out of necessity, according to the order. Travel to off-post facilities is authorized only for necessity.
Eligible personnel are authorized to travel to the installation in order to use the commissary, post exchange and other essential services, according to the general order. Necessity is limited to healthcare needs, grocery shopping, take-out food and essential postal, banking, laundry services, home repairs, auto parts/repairs and gas stations.
Francis said that family members, Department of the Army civilians and contractors are “requested and strongly encouraged” to abide by the restrictions imposed on travel for military personnel. “Failure to abide by this request may result in denial of access to the installation in order to protect the health and safety of Fort Rucker personnel.”
Military personnel, whether residing on or off post, are prohibited from inviting or allowing individuals traveling to Fort Rucker who reside outside a 50-mile straight line radius centered on Fort Rucker to visit their residence, according to the order. “Additionally, military personnel are prohibited from meeting or staying overnight in other lodging with non-local persons who travelled to the local area after the date of this order.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Brian N. Hauke, command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch and Fort Rucker, joined Francis at the virtual news conference April 2. He reiterated the social distancing parameters to include the six-feet distance between individuals. “And social gatherings of more than 10 people are strictly prohibited,” Hauke said.
As of March 30, access to Fort Rucker is limited to only Department of Defense identification card holders. Contractors are required to provide their DA Form 1602 and driver’s license or United States Government Common Access Card.