FORT KNOX, Ky., May 11, 2020 —
U.S. Army Recruiting Command is gradually increasing the use of its recruiting stations on a case-by-case basis using a science-based approach to assess risk and evaluate local conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The focus for methodically increasing station utilization is on enabling applicants to complete in-person processing requirements and secure occupations and ship dates for training in a safe, responsible manner. At this time, prospecting activities to seek new applicants are still occurring in the digital space to reduce face-to-face contact as much as possible.
Since March 18, all new applicants across the nation have been able to complete the majority of the Army enlistment process through digital means, but they have not been able to finalize the in-person requirements to validate their qualifications and ship to basic training – this includes fingerprints for the background check, test score validation, height and weight measurements, and the medical prescreening.
USAREC’s science-based approach to increasing station use includes an analysis of local COVID-19 case rates, medical resources in the area, and local government restrictions. Leaders are also evaluating individual recruiters’ personal situations for their ability to safely use the recruiting stations.
“We are ensuring we are able to work toward accomplishing our recruiting mission to meet the needs of the Army, but we are only doing this where we have ensured it is safe to support in-person processing,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, USAREC’s commanding general.
Individual recruiting stations approved to process applicants at the physical location will follow strict health and safety protocols, to include using personal protective equipment, maintaining appropriate social distancing as much as possible, and limiting access to the space.
The Ironbridge Recruiting Station in Richmond, Virginia, hosted the leaders of Training and Doctrine Command, Gen. Paul Funk and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden, May 4 to demonstrate the procedures to be used at recruiting stations being used for in-person processing. Sgt. 1st Class Holt, the station commander, walked the TRADOC leaders through what it means to utilize a station.
“This included referencing a COVID-19 screening questionnaire posted on the wall at the entrance, signs reminding personnel to abide by six-foot separation with blue tape on the floor at six-foot intervals, and a table in the station that had all required documentation and Live Scan equipment ready for processing at a safe distance,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Burgess, commander of the Richmond Recruiting Battalion, which oversees the Ironbridge Station.
While the utilization of physical stations will allow applicants to move through the final steps of the process, the USAREC commanding general was quick to point out that recruiting never stopped.
“We don’t need to have that door locked or unlocked to operate. Throughout this unprecedented time, many people have talked about our stations being ‘open or closed,’ but I believe the term ‘closed’ is obsolete for us,” Muth said. “We have proven we can manage a lot of our recruiting operations in the digital space. However, we do need physical stations for certain parts of processing. The USAREC team has clearly demonstrated the ability to ebb and flow as conditions change around us.”