Former SC Student Experiencing changes in Air Force due to COVID-19

Amidst all of the COVID-19 news and stories, the impact of the virus on our nation’s military has gone rather unnoticed. 

Josh Schievelbein, a former Sterling College student is preparing to head off to basic training to join the Air Force. 

COVID-19 has put a damper on his basic training graduation and created some uncertainty. 

“As of right now COVID-19 hasn’t affected my shipment to  Basic Military Training, which is a blessing for me from God himself, since I’ve been working for this for so long,” Schievelbein said. The biggest difference is going to be that they aren’t allowing any guests for graduation from BMT as of right now. It’s disappointing that I won’t get to graduate with my family and friends in the audience there to support me. As far as the effect of the virus on my time at Basic Training, with the information that I have been given to this point, I don’t feel as though there will be much of a difference from how it would be without COVID-19.”

For Schievelbein, his basic training experience will not be celebrated in the way that it should be. 

Does that change his enthusiasm for serving our country? Absolutely not.

The Air Force doesn’t get to stay at home and practice social distancing. They have to be mobilized and ready for anything that happens.

Given their job, they are at a much higher risk of getting the virus.

An article from the Air Force Times reported a few COVID-19 related statistics. 

“The service reports a total of 105 airmen tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday evening — an increase from Sunday when the Air Force reported only 34 airmen had. The numbers represent a nearly 209 percent increase since the beginning of the week.

The biggest surge in cases this week came on March 25, when 37 additional airmen tested positive for the virus, bringing the 55 cases from March 24 up to 92 cases.”

Air Force Lieutenant General John Hopper released a statement regarding the challenges that will be faced. 

“Of course, every emergency is different, Hurricane Michael was devastating, but we’ve been through those before,” Hopper said. A global pandemic will present challenges we have not yet imagined. The most important element about delivering support is the local commander. We fully expect that what we describe above will not survive the FAQ process. However, we will work with the folks on the ground to shape the infrastructure to fit their needs.”

In times like this, we need to cherish and respect our military more than ever. 

While we are at home, they are out fighting a different battle.

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