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COVID-19 Updates and What the U.S. Government is doing about it.


The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Installation Commander has declared a Public Health Emergency, and directed Health Protection Condition (HPCON) to CHARLIE effective immediately and for the foreseeable future. HPCON CHARLIE is defined as an elevated risk of sustained community transmission. The state of Alaska currently reports a total of 32 confirmed cases.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has identified 7 people who tested positive for COVID-19 at JBER's testing center. All 7 individuals have been isolated, and are following all CDC and DHHS isolation protocols under the supervision of 673 MDG Public Health Office.

The 673 MDG is working with affected chains of command and is working to establish contact tracing.

The installation's top priority is preservation of force and mission while we work to protect the health, safety and welfare of our community. In order to achieve this, the Installation Commander has directed:

- Mission-Essential Personnel Reporting Only--contact your unit chain of command to determine your status and work requirements
- Stop Movement on the Installation--limited to mission essential travel only*
- Suspension of Trusted Travel Program; Closure of Government Hill Gate, and Post Road Gate closed to private auto traffic; Arctic Valley Gate closed on weekends; Richardson VCC closed--expect potential curtailments and closures
- Further reduction of garrison and tenant services--we are working to find ways to provide virtual services as much as possible
- Commissary and AAFES resources will remain available with current mitigating efforts in place
- CDCs will remain open for currently enrolled children but limited to on-duty mission essential members that are mil to mil, single military and CDC employees. Currently enrolled children with extenuating circumstance need to contact their CDC Director.

*Mission essential travel means remaining at home except to leave for work in critical jobs as prescribed by unit chains of command; to buy groceries or other important goods; to receive or provide health care; to drop off or pick up children from care; and to get fresh air while observing 6-foot social distancing between non-family members. Individuals are also encouraged to practice recommended personal and environmental hygiene, including regular hand washing.

The Installation Commander and 673d Medical Group Commander hosted a Facebook live virtual town hall to provide updates on the situation, and field questions from the community. You can find the townhall on Facebook here:  and with closed captions on YouTube here:

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Spartan riggers ready for success

By Sgt. Eric-James Estrada | 4-25th IBCT Public Affairs | Nov. 21, 2013

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — "I will be sure always," is the motto of the U.S. Army parachute rigger. Every rigger is Airborne qualified and by tradition required to be ready to jump any parachute, packed by any rigger.

Parachute rigging in the Army has been around since the first Airborne unit was established in 1940. In those days paratroopers prepared and cared for their own parachutes. At the onset of World War II the Army created five airborne divisions and created support organizations with a mission to maintain airborne delivery systems.
By 1950, Army riggers joined the Quartermaster Corps. The U.S. Army Quartermaster School has operated the parachute rigger course at Fort Lee, Va. since 1951.

Like thousands before, Army 1st Lt. Kelsie Cabrera began her career as a rigger on the historic grounds of Fort Lee.

"When I was at Fort Lee, I went through my basic officer course and I was assigned to the rigger school," said Cabrera, who currently serves as the rigger platoon leader for 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. "It was my first taste of rigging."

For Elizabeth, N.J. native Pfc. Thomas Perez, a rigger with the Centurion Battalion, being airborne was all he wanted to do when he joined the Army.

"I wanted to be airborne, anything that had to do with airborne," said Perez. "It was an exciting fulfillment for me. That's what I always wanted to do and I'm glad that I made that decision."

For Centurion riggers there are multiple steps when it comes to packing a personnel parachute.

For the main parachute there are 10 rigger checks and for the reserve there are 12 rigger checks. The procedure begins with laying out the parachute, ensuring the lines are in order, and inspecting for holes.

As a rigger packs a parachute, an inspector observes and ensures the process is correctly performed. An "in-processor"

and a final inspector further check the process and the parachute itself.
"These parachutes are a life line every single time someone goes out an airplane," said Cabrera, a native of Petoskey, Mich.

A rigger's job is one that goes beyond normal responsibility. For riggers, each day is not a training day; it's a life or death day.

"It's a lot of responsibility. Every single one of those parachutes that goes out, we're responsible for," said Cabrera. "These are privates first class, specialists, who are packing life support equipment. They work with life support equipment every day. ... They train for it all the time. These guys [the riggers] aren't training; they're doing it on a daily basis."
After each rigger check, the inspector verifies they followed each of the steps. For every single one of those 10 steps an instructor will walk up and verify that they've done each one.

At the end, once it's all rigged up, and the inspector has done the 10th check, the parachute is passed off to the final inspector, who actually walks through with their checklist ensuring everything is tucked in, the static line is stowed correctly and the log record book is filled out correctly.

The final inspector also reviews anything on the outside of the parachute that a jumpmaster would inspect, such as the static line.

"Its fun," said Perez. "It's a chance to put a piece of equipment on somebody's back that you put your hard work and time into, and you've given it your all to make sure that it is safe, it looks good, and it performs well."

When it comes to supporting the Spartan Brigade in airborne missions, riggers work together as a team to live up to the rigger motto, "I will be sure always."

"It was the most fun I had in the Army so far," said Cabrera. "That's why I'm here and why I come in every day because I love these guys and I love what they do."
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