FORT HOOD, Texas – The pandemic has forced almost everyone to adapt, and the military is no exception.
The United States military trains daily, and COVID-19 isn’t stopping them.
“Within this battalion and brigade, we’ve done so many precautionary measures to make sure, you know, all the soldiers and ourselves are safe,” says Sgt. Makenzie Garcia.
Troopers from the 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Poland in July to conduct an emergency deployment readiness exercise.
Before the month-long deployment, troopers underwent COVID-19 testing.
“We’re still undergoing random testing, so we’re testing at least ten percent of the population on a regular basis. And as it stands right now, we don’t have anybody with COVID,” says LTC Ronald Sprang.
And back home in Texas, troopers are practicing COVID-19 procedures during a week-long training exercise on post.
“They’ll start with a temperature check, and if the temperature check is normal, they’ll have a certain number of questions that they get asked, too. And then they’ll move in and start their normal day of training,” says Jeff Broadwater, of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Soldiers are also wearing masks and disinfecting training areas throughout the day, and the military is also using bubbles both home and abroad – meaning soldiers are only interacting with those who have tested negative for COVID.
“We know our bubble, that the individuals that have been tested. We can interact with them normally, but once we’re outside of that bubble and dealing with other units or the polish, we automatically mask up,” says CSM Hipolito Rodriguez.
The 1st Cavalry Division says as the pandemic goes on, they will continue to follow guidance from post leadership, as well as the Army and the CDC.
“Cause that’s what we have to do. If our nation calls us, we have to be ready to go,” Broadwater says.
During the pandemic, commanders have also ordered soldiers to avoid areas deemed to be COVID-19 hot spots.