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Pentagon to decide if recruits still arrive at Fort Jackson during coronavirus crisis

Fort Jackson Gate 2 sign. (Google Maps/Released)

Fort Jackson is awaiting word from the Secretary of Defense about whether the installation will continue to receive new recruits to train as measures are put in place nationwide to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In a online town hall Thursday afternoon meant to keep military families informed of Fort Jackson’s response to COVID-19, Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., who leads the installation, answered what he described as a frequently voiced concern about recruits being shipped into the installation as travel is discouraged at nearly all levels in the United States.

“That is not a call I make independently,” Beagle said about the decision to stop shipping soldiers to Fort Jackson for training.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will decide whether to continue or discontinue sending new soldiers to the installation in “the next few days,” Beagle said.

As long as recruits are being sent to Fort Jackson, they will be trained, Beagle said. The installation’s mission is to train soldiers.

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“We will not stop doing our mission,” Beagle said. “That is what our nation expects us to do.”

If word is given that recruits won’t be shipped to Fort Jackson, the recruits who are currently at the installation will continue to be trained, Beagle said.

“Our mission is to still train and we will still train.”

Fort Jackson has four confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Beagle squashed rumors that a fifth person on the installation had contracted the virus, clarifying that a civilian worker’s father had tested positive for COVID-19. The worker lives off base and has not been on base since coming in contact with her father.

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© 2020 The State