FORT KNOX, Ky. –
U.S. Army Recruiting Command resumed in-person processing April 27 to allow applicants in certain areas of the country to complete their application requirements and confirm ship dates for basic training.
All applicant processing has been completely virtual since March 18 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. USAREC leaders have been evaluating the situation and using all available data to determine where it is safe to have limited in-person contact for fingerprints as well as required physical and medical evaluations.
“We have a color-coded system we’re applying to every county in the country to determine if it’s safe to ship our Future Soldiers, and resume activities at (Military Entrance Processing Stations) and in our recruiting stations,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, USAREC commanding general. “Our team is reviewing the state and local restrictions, the number of positive cases, and the direction those numbers are going for every area.”
The color-coded categories take into account the outbreak status within a localized area and determine the ability for Future Soldiers to ship, and this system will also be used as a guide for recruiters slowly returning to physically work in their stations.
GREEN counties are cleared to ship. In AMBER counties, brigade commanders review the criteria and determine ability to safely ship and use stations. For RED areas, the USAREC commander and deputy commander will determine if a Future Soldier ships and level of activity authorized at stations. Counties listed as BLACK are not authorized to ship or use their stations.
According to Lt. Col. Che Arosemena, director of USAREC G3 Operations, there are many areas in the U.S. where COVID-19 risk is decreasing and more every day as the outbreak levels off.
“Much of the northeast is at high-risk, particularly New York City,” he said. “There are areas in the Midwest, South, and West that have much lower COVID-19 numbers, though, and can safely ship Future Soldiers and process new recruits while still adhering to proper social distancing and safety measures.”
He cautioned that recruiters should still do as much of the recruiting process virtually as possible and use their stations as patrol bases to meet prospects and conduct interviews, as needed. Areas with lower COVID-19 risk will use stations sooner than others.
Station use is expected to continue gradually throughout May and June, when leaders plan for a summer surge in recruiting efforts.
“The summer surge will start the week before the Army's Birthday,” Arosemena said. “USAREC will continue to increase recruiting operations and transition back to fully using our recruiting stations as soon as it’s safe to do so. We will surge throughout June and into September to close out the (Fiscal Year 2020) recruiting mission and meet the Army's end-strength requirements.”
Recruiters seeking information about the way forward can find details and status updates on the command’s COVID-19 Sharepoint page.