KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The 403rd Wing is having a Unit Training Assembly July 18-19 to provide an opportunity for Airmen to come to Keesler Air Force Base to conduct required training to maintain readiness and prepare for future missions.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the wing postponed the April and May UTAs and conducted a virtual UTA in June.
While telework options were provided for these UTAs, this is not the case for the July UTA. The UTA is not mandatory; however, unit members may not telework.
“Our focus remains on protecting our people during this pandemic while maintaining mission readiness,” said Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander. “While some computer-based training can be conducted by telework, there are specific skills that need hands-on training in order to maintain proficiency to continue to operate and conduct the mission. This UTA will be our first in-place UTA in four months, so this is our opportunity to take care of those items that need to be accomplished in person.”
All members of the 403rd Wing, which come from about 30 states to serve at Keesler, are eligible to take part in the UTA, said the wing commander.
These out of town reservists who require lodging for the UTA, will be boarded off base. Airmen can access the base through the White Avenue and Pass Road gates, which are open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
“We realize there may be longer than normal waiting times to access the base and to get meals from the dining facility, so we encourage everyone to plan ahead and provide themselves enough time to access the base and other facilities,” said Lt. Col. Clinton Cash, 403rd Missions Support Group deputy commander.
The Azalea Dining facility will be open for take-out only with brunch from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with lunch options starting at 10:30 a.m., and dinner hours from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
As a reminder, Airmen who perform the July UTA must comply with base security and health protection requirements. Keesler is in Health Protection (HPCON) Bravo. Recently, the base began to reopen some facilities, but with modified operations and hours. Click here to view the updates.
Wing members are still required to comply with Department of Defense guidance requiring the use of cloth face coverings. Individuals on Department of the Air Force property, installations and facilities are required to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of physical distance in public areas or work centers.
Members who do not have facemasks and need one for their work environment should inform their supervision that they will need one for the UTA, said Cash.
Additionally, unit members are encouraged to continue to take protective actions for themselves and those around them by practicing strict hygiene, such as no hand-shaking and proper hand washing, social distancing, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick.
“Wing members must report any contact, exposure, or positive test for COVID-19,” said the wing commander. “Air Force Reserve members, whether they are Active Guard Reserve, civilians, or traditional reservists must remember that they are required to notify their commander if they or a family member is diagnosed with COVID-19.”
He also reminds unit members that these are trying times and resources are available for Airmen who may be experiencing any financial or medical hardships. He added that wing members are encouraged to work with their supervisors and leadership and use resources such as Military One Source and Airman and Family Readiness.
Information on available helping resources can be found at this link: http://www.403wg.afrc.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/tabid/9102/Article/2128818/covid-19-supportive-resources-for-wing-members-families.aspx
For up-to-date base information, visit the 403rd Wing Website www.403wg.afrc.af.mil, the wing’s Air Force Connect App, and the Keesler AFB Health page at www.keesler.af.mil/Health
Other information resources include:
Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) 877-978-6453
COVID-19 - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
DoD COVID-19 - www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/
AF COVID-19 - https://www.af.mil/News/Coronavirus-Disease-2019/
AFRC COVID-19 - https://www.afrc.af.mil/COVID-19/
Mississippi Department of Health - https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html
CDC Health Travel Notices - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/
For more information about the upcoming UTA, 403rd Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen should coordinate with their unit supervisors and commanders.