To help prevent the spread of the coronovirus, Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Luke McCollum ordered the postponement of the upcoming drill weekend for nearly all Selected Reservists, a move that will affect thousands of officers and sailors nationwide.
They will be allowed to reschedule their drill weekend for a later date, with commands offering what Navy Reserve Force spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Ben Tisdale called “maximum flexibility” to their personnel.
“It’s not canceled. We’re just postponing it for this weekend,” Tisdale told Navy Times. “In light of events, leadership wanted the decision space to take a look at all the guidance and policy and plan for the long-term future.”
Navy Operational Support Centers that were scheduled to support drilling reservists this weekend will remain open for those who need imminent mobilization and mission-essential help.
For those reservists whose upcoming weekend drill period is mandated by operational units, Tisdale urged them to contact their chain of command to determine if they’re considered mission-essential personnel.
Although there are nearly 50,000 Selected Reservists in the force, only a portion of them were scheduled to drill this weekend.
Tisdale said that leaders made the decision the postpone this weekend’s training in the wake of recent guidance from the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help halt a global coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the Navy announced that a Maine-based reservist tested “presumptive positive” for COVID-19, which she likely contracted while on duty in Italy.
Officials at Commander, Navy Reserve Force will continue to study the latest travel and Force Health Protection guidelines for reservists and civilian personnel and pledged to continue updating sailors through Navy Reserve activities chain of command and myNRH.mil.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.