Maj. Gen. David Francis

Maj. Gen. David Francis

The second of three phases of pandemic related precautionary measures for Fort Rucker began Monday, Jan. 4.

In a virtual news conference held Dec. 27, Maj. Gen. David Francis outlined Phase 2 of holiday block leave and the way forward for Phase 3.

Francis is the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general. He and Aviation Branch Command Sgt. Maj. James Wilson held the news conference update in advance of the end of holiday block leave which had run from Dec. 19, 2020 until Monday, Jan. 4.

The Fort Rucker Command team has held virtual news conferences since April 2, 2020 to disseminate information to the public about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on policies at the Home of Army Aviation.

In a series of General Orders tailored to the ever changing current pandemic statistics, Francis has outlined precautionary preventive policies for soldiers regarding on- and off-post activities. “These control measures, as we come back from holiday block leave, will be temporary and based on the conditions at the time,” Francis said. “So as we resume training, we will ring in the new year as a team and remain in this fight together.”

At a news conference Nov. 24, 2020, Francis explained that in issuing holiday block leave, three phases would be implemented as the military installation priorities continue. “Our priorities have not changed and will remain in effect—Number 1 is to protect our people, Number 2 is to protect our mission and Number 3 is to protect our local community.”

Francis said Fort Rucker is at Health Protection Condition Charlie and General Order No. 8 is now in effect. Under the new order, no Fort Rucker military or civilian personnel will be authorized visitors outside of a 150-mile radius, without having first received an exception to policy.

While family members, Department of the Army civilians and contractors are “requested and strongly encouraged” to abide by the restrictions on military personnel, “Failure to abide by this request may result in denial of access to the installation.”

Under the updated restrictions, all personnel will also be prohibited from going to gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys and on or off post restaurants, with the exception of takeout. Previous prohibited establishments and locations will remain in effect.

General Order No. 8 authorizes commanders and supervisors to use teleworks from Jan. 4 until Jan. 15, as the situation dictates.

Wilson said that transitioning into HPCON Charlie also means that the elementary school on post will also conduct classes remotely until Jan. 15.

During Phase 2 all military or civilian personnel who traveled beyond the 150-miles will begin a seven-day restriction of movement period on Jan. 4. “As the mission allows, our workforce will telework in conjunction with mandatory Restriction of Movement period until Jan. 15. The ROM period for all military students returning from leave is between Jan 4 and Jan. 15,” Wilson said. “Depending on their specific course of instruction, all military students will follow specific guidance from their chain of command.

“These restrictions on certain activities and locations are extremely vital to preserving the health of our soldiers, civilians and family members and to carefully reestablish our central Fort Rucker mission,” Wilson said. “Your adherence to control measures in General Order No. 8 are crucial for Fort Rucker and the local community to operate safely.”

“The reason these control measures were put in place was to enable us to take this holiday block leave period and allow us to reestablish the training bubble when we get back,” Francis said. “Once it’s determined that Fort Rucker can transition to Phase Three, we will implement General Order No. 9 and the potential return to more liberal measures.

“This decision will be based on COVID-19 conditions at Fort Rucker and in the local community,” Francis added. “This pandemic continues to test our resolve and you continue to reinforce why our greatest strength is you, our people.

“Your continued resiliency, cooperation and concern for each other are commendable,” Francis said. “These commitments enable us to achieve our enduring priorities of protecting our people, protecting our mission and protecting the local community.”

Fort Rucker’s face mask policy requires people to wear face coverings at all off- and on-post nonresidential facilities, regardless of social distancing.

Daily status updates on operations and services on Fort Rucker are available on the post’s website and social media page. The newest updates are highlighted in red type.

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