From the press release received from Fort Benning Public Affairs Specialist Lori Egan:
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Out of an abundance of caution, and to protect the operational readiness of the force, the Maneuver Center of Excellence has postponed this spring’s Army competitions. These include the Infantry Week competitions – International Sniper Competition, Lacerda Cup All-Army Combatives Championship, Best Mortar Competition, and Best Ranger Competition, scheduled in April – and, Armor’s Sullivan Cup, scheduled in May.
Since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a pandemic March 11, the Department of Defense stopped all domestic travel for service members, DOD civilians, and families, including permanent changes of station and temporary duty from March 16 through May 11. This ban is in addition to the department’s travel restrictions effective March 13. The competitions were scheduled for mid-April and the first week of May.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning fully support the Army’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus while providing trained and combat-ready Soldiers to defend our national security. Fort Benning continues to have no confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Fort Benning leaders analyze measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while protecting the health and safety of the Soldiers, Families and Civilians at Fort Benning and our neighboring community.
We are taking proactive steps to remind our personnel to adhere to the guidance outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the Defense Health Agency to help mitigate the spreading of COVID-19. In addition to canceling all graduations and family days until further notice, we implemented prudent social distancing techniques, such as prohibiting families from visiting any Soldier in training and expanding use of telework and leave flexibilities. Distance between personnel during essential meetings follows CDC guidance.
We’re using CDC-approved screening criteria for all personnel arriving here for training. This includes taking temperatures when recruits arrive at the reception battalion, asking about foreign travel and
potential exposure to infected persons, and includes a medical screening for COVID-19-like symptoms.
We’ve established an area for personnel who require mandatory 14-day observation. Soldiers arriving for training from higher-risk areas could be placed under a 14-day restriction of movement to monitor their health and ensure they are clear of respiratory symptoms.
We are working with interagency partners – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Military Health System and the U.S. Army Public Health Center – to provide information and support to protect our military force and the American people.
The decision to postpone the competitions is in the best interest of our community. We are adhering to Department of Defense guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The competitions will be rescheduled for a later date.
The COVID-19 threat is real. It is imperative that we protect the thousands of Soldiers who train at and will depart Fort Benning to join units around the globe. As such, we must minimize the vectors that could cause spread of the virus, including the large gatherings these competitions inspire.
This is not the first time the Best Ranger Competition has been canceled. In 1991 and 2003, it was canceled because of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, respectively.
Visit Maneuver Center of Excellence online: www.benning.army.mil