Pandemic Had Wide Impact on Soldiers, Families

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Soldiers at a food bank
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Pandemic Had Wide Impact on Soldiers, Families

The COVID-19 pandemic had far-reaching impacts on soldiers, affecting their physical health as well as their behavioral health, finances and food security, according to the Army’s seventh annual “Health of the Force” report.

Released in mid-April, the report incorporates data from more than 41 installations around the world and evaluates them on over 20 health, wellness and environmental factors. This year’s report includes a section on COVID-19 and its effect on soldiers’ health, according to an Army press release. 

Army Resilience Director Speaks at AUSA Webinar

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Dr. Helis speaks
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Army Resilience Director Speaks at AUSA Webinar

Efforts by the Army to address harmful behaviors in the force will be the focus of an upcoming webinar hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

The event, part of AUSA’s Noon Report webinar series, will feature James Helis, director of the Army Resilience Directorate. It will begin at noon Eastern May 24.

The webinar is free, but registration is required here.

Leaders Pledge Continued Quality-of-Life Improvements

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Camp Zama Housing
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Leaders Pledge Continued Quality-of-Life Improvements

The Army is seeking “adequate, sustainable, predictable” funding to continue improving its quality-of-life initiatives for soldiers and their families, a panel of Army leaders told lawmakers.

DoD to Offer Free At-Home COVID Tests

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Covid test
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DoD to Offer Free At-Home COVID Tests

Military beneficiaries will soon be able to get free at-home COVID-19 tests from hospitals or clinics on post, officials said.

The tests will be available “at military hospitals or clinics … in the coming weeks,” according to a Health.mil press release. 

“Beneficiaries are encouraged to first contact their provider if they have a known COVID-19 exposure or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19,” the release said. 

Army National Guard Remains Busy at Home, Overseas

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Guard rescues stranded truck
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Army National Guard Remains Busy at Home, Overseas

The number of National Guard soldiers on duty each month in support of the COVID-19 response has begun to go down, and as the pandemic wanes, the mission will end, the director of the Army National Guard said.

“At some point, we’re going to leave a COVID-19 environment,” Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen said Feb. 22 during a webinar hosted by the Center for a New American Security. “If you take that [mission] off our plate right now, that would reduce our operational tempo by a factor of about 15,000 soldiers a month.”

Recruiting Succeeded as COVID Concerns Grew

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Recruits in formation
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Recruiting Succeeded as COVID Concerns Grew

In fiscal year 2020, the Army increased the quality of new recruits and relied more heavily on prior-service recruits to increase troop strength, according to a new Rand Corp. analysis. 

The good news for recruiting in a year when COVID-19 concerns changed the national employment situation, significantly increasing unemployment, is the Army managed to do well, says the Jan. 18 report.

Leaders Urge Vigilance, Vaccines During COVID Outbreak

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Leaders Urge Vigilance, Vaccines During COVID Outbreak

As the omicron variant drives up COVID-19 cases across the U.S., military and veteran families must remain vigilant, senior leaders said during a recent virtual town hall. 

“This is a … pivotal moment for our country, and certainly for our military families and our veteran families,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president at the American Red Cross overseeing its Service to the Armed Forces program. 

National Guard Steps Up Support for COVID Missions

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Guard Soldier giving vaccine
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National Guard Steps Up Support for COVID Missions

More than 15,200 members of the National Guard are on duty in 49 states and territories in support of the burgeoning COVID-19 response, running testing sites, managing nonclinical hospital tasks and augmenting medical staff.

In Ohio, close to 2,500 Guard members are deployed, the largest number of soldiers and airmen supporting the COVID-19 mission in any of the U.S. states and territories, said Maj. Gen. John Harris, the state’s adjutant general.