We are ready to serve Texas in support of COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Col Keith Williams

Fellow 136th Airlift Wing Members,

The world is experiencing something that occurs very rarely. This COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us. The entire nation is taking unprecedented measures to control the spread of the virus. We are in this together.

Our State and our Nation needs us. Our fellow citizens count on the military to protect and defend. We must do all that we can to remain ready and able to be called. The Adjutant General of Texas (TAG) has directed we “mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure by safeguarding Texas Military Department (TMD) units, service members, and civilians to preserve unit readiness in support of our nation and state.”

So what can we do? First, we make good decisions on where we go and who we see. Utilize social distancing to the maximum extent possible. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines social distancing as avoiding large groups of people (of more than 10) and mass gatherings, and also maintaining a distance of six feet from others when possible. When you do venture into public places, please take precautions to limit your exposure.

At the 136th, we are practicing social distancing by having more employees telecommute and conducting meetings via teleconference reducing the number of individuals meeting at once. We are limiting visitors from outside the unit. We plan to have all offices minimally manned, but we will maximize the number of employees telecommuting. This could cause a disruption or delay in the services you need so please be patient as we work through this. If you need to see someone
in Finance, Personnel, Medical, Command Support Squadron (CSS), etc. … call ahead first to make an appointment.

Very importantly, our Medical Clinic and the Navy Medical Clinic are not set up to treat or test for COVID-19. If you have flu-like symptoms and/or suspect you have been exposed, you must call first for a screening over the phone and then follow the guidance provided. DON’T bring the virus to the base!

Governor Abbott has directed the Texas National Guard to aid in the response. So far, no one from the 136th has been tasked, but we all need to stay prepared. The governor did say our Guard members, who are civilian first-responders, would not be utilized so they can continue to provide support to their local communities.
Gen. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, compels us all to rise to the occasion. This time will be remembered -- how we act and react matters -- the calm we maintain during this and any crisis can have a great effect on those around us. Be smart. Be prepared. Be ready.

Command Chief Master Sergeant Mitchell and I are working with your leadership as well as leaders at State Headquarters and the National Guard Bureau to manage our operations. There is a tremendous amount of information and guidance that is being sent. We will do our best to keep you informed. Thank you for your understanding and your commitment as we all get through this together.