To help curb the spread of coronavirus, Fort Hood shifted to “Mission Essential Manning” at 2 p.m., Tuesday, as communities surrounding the installation have, likewise, shifted themselves to a “shelter in place” posture.

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Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commander

The move was announced shortly afterward via the installation’s social media platforms through a “star note” from III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt.

“Lethality remains our number one priority and yet protection of the force is a persistent and critical factor we must consider during times such as these,” the general wrote. “Informed by this guidance, and after close consultation with county and state leadership here in Central Texas, I have issued the order for Fort Hood commanders and leaders across the installation to shift to ‘Mission Essential Manning’ as of 2 p.m. on March 24. We will continue to assess the situation and will adjust further, as needed. This decision will help mitigate the spread of the virus while allowing us to maintain our core mission capabilities, and critical functions and services on the installation.”

A complete listing of Fort Hood programs and services affected can be found on page A6. The post remains open, Efflandt stressed.

“This order does not mean everyone can return to home,” the general continued. “Mission support to the Department of Defense and the nation continues as an enduring priority alongside our COVID-19 response. As exemplified in our oath, the Army is part of the team that the nation turns to in times of crisis, in this case with first responder teammates.

“Mission and critical services on this installation will continue to operate; these activities will adjust over time as required by the local environment and other commitments,” the general added. “For further information, one’s immediate chain of command and supervisors are well suited to answer questions and address special circumstances.”

The deputy commanding general, likewise, stressed the importance of engaged leadership at all levels and the Fort Hood community’s commitment to care for each other.

“Throughout our Army mission and COVID-19 response, leadership and self-discipline are central to success; through the implementation of instructions, best practices and CDC guidelines,” he wrote. “The role and importance of engaged leadership does not change because our circumstances have changed. Leaders continue to personally check on the welfare and morale of their Soldiers, while we concurrently as a community continue to care for each other.

“Together—as teammates, with each doing their part—we will overcome COVID-19 to protect our Soldiers, families and communities for their safety so we can fulfill our duty to the nation,” he added. “For those considered by leadership as ‘non-mission essential’ personnel, please ‘shelter in place’ in compliance with local civic instructions. Authority to move and act in support of our mission is explicitly recognized in all the local civic instructions.”

While noting that “the COVID-19 virus has created unprecedented challenges that leaders, both civilian and military, are addressing as they arise,” Efflandt wrote. He echoed III Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Pat White’s assertion that ‘We are well positioned to respond to an outbreak in our ranks, should one occur.’”

The full text of White’s message to the Fort Hood community can be found on page A4.

Readiness remains a top priority even in these troubling times.

“Despite the pandemic, our priorities and fundamental tasks stay consistent,” White wrote from his forward-deployed location this weekend.

“In keeping with our traditions and past successes, together we will get through this. We stand ready to answer our nation’s call and care for each other, through vigilance in our actions to combat COVID-19,” Efflandt concluded the star note. “I am proud to be a Phantom Warrior and part of the communities that make up this team. Together we make Fort Hood and Central Texas the ‘Great Place’ Phantom Lethal.”

To read the star note in its entirety, visit www.facebook.com/forthood.