WASHINGTON, D.C. --
Airmen from the 113th Wing performed their first-ever virtual drill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, May 1-2, 2020, to maintain readiness while meeting social distancing standards.
"The health and safety of our Airmen is our number one concern, but we still have a mission that needs to get done," said Col. John J. Campo, vice wing commander for the 113th Wing. "A lot of Air National Guard units have had to rethink how to effectively conduct their mission and accomplish training during the coronavirus pandemic."
In response to the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 113th Wing leadership implemented maximum telework guidance, and as a precautionary measure, decided to cancel April's regularly scheduled drill.
"The 113th Wing has a responsibility to maintain a well-trained and well-equipped ready force to provide assistance when called upon, and the current health crisis hasn't changed our mission, just the focus," said Campo. "Continuing to cancel drill weekends during the pandemic, would impact the readiness of our Wing and potentially impact our members obtaining the necessary points to qualify for a good year towards retirement and receiving pay. Conducting a virtual drill allowed us to continue to meet all the health and safety guidelines and maintain our readiness."
During the virtual drill, members of the 113th Wing completed basic ancillary training and conducted unit-specific training that will count toward their retirement points and allow them to receive pay for attending drill weekend.
"Though the majority of the Wing participated in a virtual drill this weekend, we still had members show up in uniform," said Campo. "We have a requirement to accomplish our combat missions and Aerospace Control Alert mission, even during the coronavirus pandemic."
The 113th Wing has taken all the necessary precautions to ensure the Airmen who do show up for work maintain proper social distancing, wear all necessary protective equipment and follow CDC guidelines.
When asked about whether or not 113th Wing members will be returning to work for June drill, Campo had this to say.
"Right now, our focus is on the health and safety of our Airmen and their families. We will continue to monitor the situation and will make that call closer to June drill."