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445th AW commander offers Citizen Airmen options for June UTA

Col. Raymond A. Smith, Jr., is the commander of the 445th Airlift Wing.

Col. Raymond A. Smith, Jr., is the commander of the 445th Airlift Wing.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

 I wanted to reach out and share the 445th Airlift Wing leadership team’s plan concerning our June unit training assembly.  Our first priority is the welfare and safety of our Airmen, their families, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the local populace.  With that in mind, Wright-Patterson AFB remains at a Health Protection Condition Charlie (HPCONC) which currently does not support a return to normal operations. 

The 88th Air Base Wing team and mission partners are working on a plan to return the base to normal operations using a “phased approach.”  The initial phase should begin toward the end of May and allow up to 20 percent of the base’s workforce to return to work, and the base HPCON would decrease to HPCON Bravo (assuming the measured indicators support this decision).  

 After considering the potential health concerns, Department of Defense travel restrictions, limitations of base services and the limitation of 20 percent of our assigned personnel, we believe the following is our best approach for our June drill: telework, reschedule, and/or excusal, as well as limited squadron commander use of mission essential authorized duty. These are the options that squadron commanders have to meet the needs of our Airman and our mission for the June UTA. Individual units will contact their Airmen with unit-specific June UTA plans.

Telework: Unit commanders/squadron leadership should provide a telecommute training plan that may include but is not limited to: tele-conferencing, assignments, computer-based training (CBT) and supervisor led focus group projects to support mission effectiveness.   Our intent with this is to provide each member with the opportunity to perform up to four UTA periods in the month of June.      

Liberal reschedule: Allowing members to reschedule the June drill to a timeframe more conducive to participation and/or a plan that supports social distancing within their organization.

Excusal: Liberal excusal is authorized for all wing members.  We understand that many of you may not have flexibility in your schedules and this may be a good option for you.  We also understand that many of you may have reservations or concerns with the current pandemic and believe that rescheduling is not a comfortable option for you. We certainly do not want to put any of our Airmen in an uncomfortable situation.  You should feel comfortable selecting this as an option if it best supports your needs.  Please review your retirement point summary to ensure that you will have 50 points within your retirement/retention (R/R) year. Please contact the force support squadron if you have questions or concerns.

Mission essential designation: Commanders have the option on a very limited basis, to request members by name and state a mission essential purpose and bring those members to the base to complete specific duties.  This should be used judiciously. Those members should be able to maintain the social distance protocol, wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hygiene guidelines.

The 445th AW leadership team is working very hard to protect you and your family. We appreciate your support and patience as we work though this challenging time. I am very proud of how well you have adapted to the changes.  I am amazed by your resilience and perseverance and ask you to please keep up the good work.

The 445th Airlift Wing along with the Wright-Patterson community shares a very low rate of members infected with COVID-19. That tells me that you have incorporated safety measures in your everyday life. Please keep doing what you are doing because it is working. I look forward to the day we can assemble again but until then our team will continue to make sound decisions to keep you and your families safe.