Leadership from the 86th Airlift Wing hosted a virtual town hall March 30, in an ongoing effort to address concerns associated with the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. This weekly installment of the virtual town hall was delivered via Facebook Live and Armed Forces Network – Kaiserslautern.
Only days before, the Secretary of Defense directed all military installations to move to Health Protection Condition Charlie, in addition to further travel restrictions impacting deployments.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto J. Rendon Jr. answered questions about the new guidance and addressed other concerns from the Kaiserslautern Military community.
Below are some questions and answers from the virtual town hall. For a full list of frequently asked questions, or FAQs, including ones that were not addressed live, visit https://www.ramstein.af.mil/COVID-19.
Has Ramstein given any guidance on grooming standards — do I need to tell my guys to buzz up or allow some shag?
We know there are no barbers available within the community, but we still have a professional image we need to maintain. If you have the skills, cut your own hair. The minimum standard for males is hair should not touch the ears and stay off the collar.
With travel bans and not being able to effectively take leave, will there be a use or lose extension?
You can take leave. In regard to use or lose extensions, there has been no guidance as leave is still an option. If that changes, the information will be passed along.
What will happen to those selected and scheduled to retrain?
Start thinking about DEROS options. Reach out to your unit training manager and career assistance advisor; they will have the most up-to-date information and be able to assist with your concerns.
What are the chances of Stop Loss happening?
Stop Loss, the involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service, is a Secretary of Air Force decision.
Has there been any progress or new information from the Embassy about getting college kids back here in Germany?
Nothing new to report at this time. We are working with the Embassy and continue to ask these questions.
Some offices are violating OPSEC by emailing PII in unencrypted emails. How do we get this resolved?
Encrypt what needs to be encrypted. Teleworking may pose interesting challenges, if you are unsure how to send documents that need to be encrypted, reach out to your supervisors for direction.
The North Side Post Office has reduced their hours and has now created a bottleneck effect. This seems counterproductive to minimizing social gathering and adhering to social distancing. What’s being done to resolve this? Can there be an unmanned window for Click and Ship mail?
The 86th Mission Support Group is actively looking for means to continue to serve the community with the least amount of health risk. The most recent updates to postal operations can be found on the Ramstein/Kapaun Postal Operations Facebook page.
Any consideration of resuming bagger service at the commissary?
For those of us with extra time on our hands, what are some ways people can help?
Embrace the small community spirit. Look to see who you can help within your circle, work center or neighborhood. One example is volunteering to assist with shopping needs. This helps the community while minimizing the number of individuals at the commissary or exchange.
Any update on whether or not LNs will be issued a German Commute Certificate or will a DD Form 2765 ID card suffice?
Our partnership here has led to fruitful discussions to where we have avoided the requirement to send out paperwork. ID cards are currently sufficient. For those outside of the Rheinland-Pfalz area, please work with your leadership and let us know if more documentation is needed.
When will civilians who support the base be taken care of? We are concerned that there are many who are on Leave Without Pay but have bills to pay as well.
Commanders have the ability to make these decisions within their squadrons. If you are directly affected by this, there are many alternatives to taking leave without pay. Please talk to your leadership about your concerns.
What about single parents who rely on their income and are not being allowed Admin Leave?
We are giving as much flexibility as possible. A single parent’s duty location and status should be at home to take care of their kids. Work the specifics with your chain of command.
Is there any way for mission-essential work stations to be provided hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes since they are not stocked?
We have been working with bulk contracting, identifying requirements and will be providing the resources when available. If you believe you fall under the category requiring these items, please pass that through your chain of command so we can assist when the resources become available.
What exactly does HPCON Charlie mean for the KMC?
We already made most of those changes prior to going into the status. The big item we are currently reviewing is the requirement to sign people on base. More to come on that, everything else on the checklist is already completed.
Why are the number of positive cases no longer reported on the website?
The Department of Defense has stated for OPSEC purposes, we will not provide specific information in regards to individual installations.
Can trash pick-up be increased?
Those contracts are scheduled a year in advance, though we can ask the question. The Recycling Center is still open if you have extra trash to drop off.
Will there be additional screenings, such as taking temperatures, at the entrance of the BX and Commissary?
The BX and Commissary are essential for our community. We ask for compliance; for those that should be isolating, please isolate. We have no plans to put additional screenings at the BX or Commissary.
Are personnel currently deployed allowed to return to a Category 3 country?
As part of the Stop Movement, those currently deployed will remain at their location unless there is an approved ETP or waiver.
Some information may change as the situation develops, please continue to check the site for the most up-to-date information. Visit the Ramstein homepage (www.ramstein.af.mil) and go to the COVID-19 tab at the upper right side of the page.