Shipmates, it’s the 19th of March, 2020. A lot has changed in the past week, and the impacts of the coronavirus are changing daily life for all of us. Our focus right now is threefold: We must protect our people, and we must maintain mission readiness. And finally, we have to support the whole-of-government effort. That is why we’ve enacted additional policies designed to combat the spread of coronavirus.
We’ve done a number of things, including moving to shift work, reducing our manning, and increasing our telework. We have closed DoD schools and many MWR facilities, as well as curtailed some child and youth programs. We have postponed our E-4 advancement exam, we’ve suspended the spring physical readiness test, and we’ve postponed drill weekends for reserves until May 11. We’ve also suspended recruit graduation ceremonies until further notice. Additionally, we will pause administrative and statutory promotion boards for the time being.
But many things remain open too, including our commissaries, our exchanges, our military treatment facilities, as well as our Military Health System Nurse Advice Line and our My Navy Career Center—all available 24/7 to answer your questions.
We are also preparing our two 1,000-bed hospital ships, the Mercy and Comfort, to get underway to relieve pressure on civilian health providers, who are focused on treating folks with the coronavirus.
Operationally, to keep our ships, our aircraft and our submarines ready, commanders are empowered to take the necessary precautions, so they can effectively carry out their missions and meet the critical needs of our Sailors.
While 30 percent of our fleet is underway today—including four carrier strike groups and four amphibious ready groups—we must, to the greatest extent possible, practice social distancing, as well as good hygiene and cleanliness aboard our ships, in our offices, and in our homes.
America continues to depend on us to provide security and stability to this nation, and we will do just that. Expect additional guidance over the days and weeks ahead as this situation continues to change. To stay up-to-date on these changes, check out our coronavirus page on Navy.mil.
Finally, we must be mindful that while many of our shipmates are very adept at maintaining their support networks, for some, social distancing can lead to a loss of connectedness and feelings of isolation. You need to know that you’re not alone.
If you or if one of your shipmates need help, reach out to the resources that we have available, whether it’s the Military Crisis Line, Military OneSource, our Navy chaplain care, or the Psychological Health Resource Center. We also have our Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and our Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Above all, take care of yourselves, your families, and each other. Your safety remains our primary concern as we continue to carry out the Navy’s mission in defense of our nation.