Army reports the service has alleviated backlog of moves caused by the coronavirus pandemic
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2020
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WASHINGTON — Army officials said Thursday that the service has conducted 72,000 military moves and alleviated its moving backlog in recent months despite restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were learning by trial and error in a lot of cases. But everybody rolled their sleeves up and dug in,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, the commander of Installation Management Command, said about military moves during the pandemic.
In March, the pandemic forced the Defense Department to implement restrictions on travel and moves for service members and their families. The initial restrictions stopped many moves from happening at the start of the military’s moving season, which typically runs from May to August. In June, about 24,000 soldiers had their moves delayed due to the stop-movement restrictions.
However, the service began allowing for more moves to happen and protocols were put in place to protect service members, their families, and the movers from getting infected from the virus, such as social distancing and movers providing documentation that they had been screened for symptoms.
But despite protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus during the moving process, there were some Army families who became infected, according to Maj. Gen Michel Russell, the director of operations at the Army’s G-4, which oversees logistics.
“We have had instances where we have [transportation service providers] come into a service member's home and the result was a [coronavirus] incident. And it has gone both ways. We've had service members be the cause of a [coronavirus] incident with service providers,” he said.
Army officials said they did not know how many service members were infected during military moves.
As of Wednesday, the Army has had a total of 18,423 coronavirus cases, the highest number among the military services, according to the Pentagon’s coronavirus case chart. Overall, the military has had 49,331 cases of the coronavirus and 635 hospitalizations.
Despite the moving season shifting to the months of June to November, the Army is now back to normal moving numbers, Russell said.