COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Military installations across the state must scale back operations in response to COVID-19.
Fort Jackson is one of the largest military training bases in the country, producing more than 50,000 soldiers each year. But after confirmed cases of the coronavirus on base, the way of life there has changed.
“You have such dense populations and young populations that come here; the way they sleep, the way they train, and then again the scale that we train, there’s a lot of soldiers at any place at any given time,” said Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle, Fort Jackson Commanding General.
The base has put a few measures in place. Access to the base is limited to mission essential personnel only and there is a two-week freeze on incoming soldiers as part of a Department of Defense order.
Right now, the freeze allows Fort Jackson to send current soldiers on to their next phase before taking in new ones but there could be consequences of a long-term freeze.
“Since we’ve gotten all the soldiers out of the pipeline now we’re sitting waiting for new ones to come in, so you don’t want to wait too long- you want to keep that process going because that whole machine defends our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Beagle.
Fort Jackson is also screening and checking the temperature of everyone coming onto base.
That 2-week freeze on new soldiers coming in is expected to end on April 19th.