The Army has paused sending new recruits to basic training for at least two weeks as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials told reporters Monday.
Gen. Paul Funk, head of Army Training and Doctrine Command, noted that recruits already in basic training and advanced training, at Ft. Benning, Georgia, Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, Ft. Jackson in South Carolina, and Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., will continue under strict monitoring of health conditions and enforced social distancing measures.
“This conditions-based pause allows leaders to further focus on setting conditions to restart in a safer manner,” Funk said. “I want to be clear that this is not a pause for training of the soldiers currently at our training centers. Our drill sergeants, the best in the world, will continue social distancing to enable training and conduct regular screenings to identify soldiers that need to be treated.”
Funk noted that April and May are usually the slowest months for shipping out new recruits to basic training.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, noted that the service is working on bonus payments to assist new recruits that had anticipated shipping out to basic training prior to the breakout of the coronavirus.
“What we’re doing is specifically looking at each case and the hardships they may be under, whether they’ve quit their job or they don’t have an apartment now because they let their lease go. We’re screening them right now. Depending on how delayed their going to be in their shipping, they’re going to be authorized $2,000, $4,000 or $6,000 shipping bonus when their ship date eventually comes around,” Muth said. “We’re trying to do something for all of these delayed shippers to ensure that based on this unexpected national emergency that they are still committed to the Army and that we will take care of them and that it’s the right thing to do.”
The Army has also moved all of its recruiting efforts online as of March 15, according to Muth.