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Latest Air Force trainees continue BMT with enhanced mitigation efforts

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U.S. Air Force basic military training is beginning a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) for new arrivals beginning March 18, 2020, as the service actively conducts mitigation procedures to slow down the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force graphic / Dan Hawkins)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --

For the 668 projected new Air Force recruits arriving this week, basic military training is beginning with a 14-day restriction of movement, or ROM, as the service actively conducts mitigation procedures to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

During the ROM, trainees will prepare for full-scale training and complete administrative tasks and limited training objectives, while operating within the parameters of social distancing and small-group contact. Currently, there are no COVID-19 cases in BMT.

“The health of both our trainees and military training instructors is our top priority,” said Col. Michael Newsom, 737th Training Group and BMT commander. “Restricting movement and separating our newest recruits from the rest of our BMT population, while still accomplishing training, allows us to keep our Airmen safe and keep us ready to continue our mission to train, develop and inspire Airmen.”

All inbound BMT trainees will be housed at the most geographically-separated Recruit, Housing and Training facility. Trainees previously assigned to the facility have been moved to other BMT squadrons to complete their training objectives.

To help provide social distancing recommended by current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, trainees will be housed in large bays with fewer than 40 people.

Personnel from the 37th Training Wing, with support from officials from the 59th Medical Wing and 502nd Air Base Wing, are streamlining logistics support for the newly arrived recruits, with modified procedures for haircuts, uniform issue and meals.

“We have contingency plans in place for new recruits identified through initial health screenings needing isolation,” said Maj. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th MDW commander and the San Antonio Military Health System medical director. “Pre-screening questionnaires identify symptoms, as well as recent travel exposure. For those recruits who become symptomatic, we have the facilities to provide the right type of care to our Airmen.”

In a change to routine BMT operations, flights originally scheduled to graduate on Fridays will now graduate on Thursdays. The next graduation is scheduled for March 19.

All BMT graduation events remain private and closed to the public and graduation ceremonies are livestreamed on the 37th Training Wing Facebook page.

“Our COVID-19 mitigation measures begin with the entire team embracing an operational mindset,” said Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander. “This mindset is crucial to our ability to carefully balance the need to deliver mission-ready forces to our operational commanders with the force health protection measures we must responsibly take to preserve the welfare of our families and the extensive network of communities across our nation we call home.

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