As the United States continues to work to slow the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country, the U.S. Navy coronavirus response has included significant changes to basic training and adhering to force-wide initiatives aimed at minimizing the effect this virus has on America’s military readiness.
The United States Navy is not only adjusting its training policies to better protect new Sailors from exposure to the coronavirus, the seaward branch is also serving on the front lines of America’s war against Covid-19, thanks to the deployment of the hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York City.
Below, you can find important updates to Navy coronavirus efforts, changes to training or orders execution, and other information that may benefit Sailors or their families throughout this difficult time.
Statement from Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly
Navy Coronavirus Basic Training Changes
*Updated March 30
Following the first confirmed case of Covid-19 among recruits, the Navy has opted to institute a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) period for all new arrivals. That means new recruits will be kept isolated from other training units for two weeks, prior to entering regular training revolutions. You can read the full statement from the Navy below:
On March 28, Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes had its first recruit test positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019…Posted by U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command on Sunday, March 29, 2020
The U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command has announced that they are suspending all large scale graduation ceremonies for both their Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes and Officer Training in Newport, RI.
These sailors will still go through training, but large graduation events will not be held, nor will they be live streamed. You can read the Navy’s full statement below:
Effective immediately, the U.S. Navy is suspending all Recruit Training Command (RTC), in Great Lakes, IL, and Officer Training Command (OTC), in Newport RI, formal, large-scale graduation ceremonies until further notice as part of its proactive approach to protect our mission and limit the potential spread of COVID 19.
Recruits, Officer Candidates and students will continue to graduate, but the transition from Recruit or Officer Candidate to Sailor will be marked by small, internal events which cannot be live-streamed.
This decision was made after considering recommendations from CDC and medical professionals, to support the well-being of our students and staff, and to maintain our mission essential function of providing basically trained Sailors to the fleet.
While graduation is an important symbolic event for Sailors and their families, it is not essential for training, and in light of concerns in gathering large groups of individuals together, it would be inappropriate to continue the ceremony at this time. We will continue to closely monitor the situation, and will resume graduations and guest attendance as soon as it is safe to do so.
You can stay up to date on basic training changes around the force here.
According to the U.S. Navy:
“For Sailors on temporary duty for training – either in the entry-level pipeline or fleet returnees at advanced training courses, you will be directed to complete your current training and/or school. Your follow-on destination is dependent on your individual situation and specific force health considerations.”
Orders, Transfers, and Travel Changes
The Department of Defense has issued new coronavirus travel restrictions barring all domestic travel for service members, including a halt to all PCS (permanent change of station) and TDY (temporary duty) orders.
As a part of the Pentagon’s ongoing effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus known as Covid-19, the decision has been made to put all non-essential travel on hiatus until further notice. Any service members that are currently executing orders should contact their command for further guidance.
If you are currently executing orders, you should contact your command to coordinate the right decision for you and your family.
For those in a Permanent Change of Station training track, upon completion of your current training and/or school, you could be directed to return to your previous permanent duty station, sent on to your ultimate permanent duty station or be told to remain in place at your current school or training site if it’s considered prudent for health protection.
For those who are attending multiple schools, if the next school is at the same training location, and the course is still being offered as planned, the individual Sailor will most likely continue in the training pipeline and once the training and/or school is complete, your follow-on destination will be evaluated.
Sailors should consult with either their current chain of command or Navy Personnel Command (NPC) MyNavy Career Center (MNCC) as a starting place to sort out your situation.
You can read the Navy’s full statement below:
Most Sailors impacted right now are those due to execute orders in the next two months. Those in this situation should contact their detailer or MNCC immediately.
Currently, all moves within the United States and its territories, and those heading to Centers for Disease Control Warning Level 3 countries are in an “all stop.” These Sailors and their families will not move until May 11.
Additionally, Sailors heading to CDC Level 2 countries will transfer, but their families won’t travel until May 11.
If you don’t have your detailer’s phone number or email, you should call the MNCC Contact Center at 1-833-330-MNCC(6622) or send an email to email@example.com. These experts put you through to your detailer for guidance and potential orders modification.
If you can’t get through on the phone, leave a message. You can also post a question to the Navy Detailers Facebook page, @NavyPersonnelCommand. Detailers are constantly monitoring the feed and your question will be addressed.
Just remember that there has been a tremendous surge in the number of people calling in. Everyone’s situation isn’t exactly the same and sorting our your needs may take time, requiring patience as an answer is worked for you.
Promotions, Leave, Liberty and More
The U.S. Navy has opted to postpone promotions until further notice, citing concerns about the transmission of Covid-19.
“To protect the health and safety of our force and to support geographical diversity of our selection board members, all promotion, advancement, milestone and other selection boards scheduled to convene on or after 24 March 2020 at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) are postponed until further notice,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John B. Nowell said.
Relaxed Grooming Standards
As a result of the CDC’s guidance regarding social distancing, the Navy has determined that sailors will not be able to receive regular hair cuts, and as such, grooming standards have been temporarily relaxed.
Leave, Liberty, and Travel
Local leave and liberty is still authorized at command discretion, and overseas liberty will also require local command approval.
Navy Coronavirus Outreach Efforts and Initiatives
The USNS Comfort
The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has been dispatched to support New York City’s ongoing efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. More than 120 medical professionals in the U.S. Navy Reserves volunteered to support the effort.
“The sheer strength of what the ship can do, from all the cat scans, to full operating rooms and how fast it can be there to support different areas is awesome,” said Yeoman 1st Class Chad Williams, who traveled from NOSC Washington D.C. “This mission is important because it shows that we are not only doing humanitarian missions outside of the U.S., but that we support missions inside the country as well.”
The USNS Mercy
The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy has been deployed to America’s West Coast where it is serving in support of Los Angeles’ ongoing efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and treat those who have become ill.