Fort Jackson leadership today announced that since April
30, the post has more recovered COVID-19 cases than active ones with no
The first two recovered soldiers graduated Basic Combat Training May 14.
“The screening and health protection procedures put in place early at Fort
Jackson helped protect the trainees and all the workforce,” said Fort
Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr. “We had early adoption
of abiding by stringent protocols designed to prevent, detect and contain
The first step taken was thorough contact tracing to ensure the virus was
contained. A team of post health officials contact everyone who comes in
contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Those who the
person contacted were tested and either isolated or quarantined based on
their test outcome.
Raymond Arnold, the project manager for Johnson Food Services LLC, said
there are 700 employees working at Fort Jackson and only 15 have had to be
tested due to contact tracing and all were negative. There was a former
employee who contracted COVID-19 through an outside source and has since
“We are stringent about keeping a daily routines of safety measures and
inspections to keep everyone safe,” Arnold said. “We have loyal and
dedicated employees who come to work every day.”
Recently, Fort Jackson started testing every new recruit at 120th Adjutant
General Reception Battalion before they begin basic combat training. This is
in addition to the three-step screening procedures that start at the
recruiting center and military entrance processing stations.
If a trainee is positive, they will be quarantined. All trainees who are not
positive will start basic training without quarantine. “The 120th is also
working directly with the installation contact trace team,” said Capt.
Samuel Warren, Delta company commander at 120th Adjutant General Reception
Battalion. “This ensures all trainees who have direct contact with trainee
who is COVID-19 positive are also placed in quarantine prior to starting
Another initiative Fort Jackson is executing, as directed by Army Training
and Doctrine Command, is a new training basic training model called “2 + 8”.
“We have moved instruction with limited personal interaction to allow for
proper social distancing upfront in a phase we are calling yellow phase,”
said 165th Brigade Commander Col. Eric Flesch.
This phase sees training done at platoon-level with trainees who sleep in
the same bay so they are exposed to the smallest amount of people possible.
“Basic training is still 10 weeks but this new model helps stop the spread
of COVID-19 and if a trainee does have symptoms, the virus can easily be
contained. This gives us two weeks to use social distancing techniques
before trainees start more interactive training,” Flesch said.
The morning and night routines have also changed. The trainees’ line up for
a toe-the-line procedure twice a day in a different manner. Now, they use a
social distancing technique of staggering the line instead of all being on
the same line and their temperature is taken.
“We are checking to make sure their temperatures are under 100.4 and they
are showing no signs or symptoms for any type of COVID threat,” said Sgt.
1st Class Donald Castelow, a senior drill sergeant in Alpha Company, 1st
Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment,
Fort Jackson leadership continues to prioritize the health and safety of our
military, civilians and family members.
“We will continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and
welfare of Army personnel and our local community,” Beagle said. “Fort
Jackson must continue their mission training new soldiers to meet the needs
of the Army and defend America.”
For timely information, follow Fort Jackson social media platforms and visit
our COVID-19 prevention and updates page at
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