Thursday, June 11, 2020
Marines, Sailors, Civilians, Contractors, and Family Members,
1. As the situation in regards to COVID continues to evolve, I wish to inform you of further changes instituted by the host nation, garrison, and our command.
2. For those of us that reside in Stuttgart, the garrison commander transitioned the base to HPCON B effective 4 June 2020. This change means additional services on base will open up at limited capacity and with strict health safety regulations in place, to ensure we maintain the health of the force. Please refer to the USAG Stuttgart website for specific information. Of note, starting June 8th, the CDC is open on a reduced basis for mission essential personnel. Fitness centers are open with COVID-19-related mitigation measures in place to include sanitizing, max customer capacity, face masks, and physical separation reminders. Following the base gym openings, we have opened the HITT locker with similar mitigation requirements. It is essential that while using these facilities you maintain social distancing and sanitize surfaces after use.
3. Additionally, the garrison has released General Order 1C, which eliminates some of the restrictions we were enforcing in regards to liberty. At this time, overnight stays are authorized, but you may not cross the border of the nation you are stationed in. I still encourage you to use good judgment and be cautious as things continue to open up. The health of our force remains my number one priority.
4. Our command is still operating at an enhanced protective measure protocol. My guidance is to maintain a reduced footprint at the headquarters and to prudently telework when practical. Continue to practice good hygiene, mask protocols, social distancing, and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces you touch frequently.
5. For our new rotation of allocated forces, welcome aboard, we are happy to have you as part of the team. None of this deployment has been normal for you, but I trust that you will work hard to accomplish the mission during these extraordinary times. It is important that you remain cognizant of the rules and restrictions of the nations you are operating in as we are guests in these countries.
6. This PCS season is impacting many of you and your families, and adding its own unique hardships to an already difficult process. To our outbound personnel, thank you for your hard work during your tour. Please remain engaged with your chain of command during your outprocessing and let us know if there is any assistance you require. For our inbound personnel, it is incumbent on our sponsors here at the command to help our fellow Marines and their families get settled. The 14 day quarantine is still in place for travelers originating in, traveling through or ending in a non-green location per the SecDef Travel Restrictions of 8 Jun 2020. Accordingly, sponsors must continue assisting new joins with their virtual in processing and procuring essential items for them during their quarantine stay. We will notify you ASAP if the 14 day quarantine requirement is reduced. I have the utmost confidence that you will all help to make these transitions easy for all members of our command.
7. To date your actions have been impeccable and have assisted in maintaining the health of our unit. I applaud you for these efforts. Thank you for your continued attentiveness and understanding that guidance will continue to evolve as the situation changes. However, my concern is that with good news we will lose our vigilance. I implore you to do what Marines do best and keep pressing until this situation is over.
Thank you and Semper Fidelis,
MajGen Patrick J. Hermesmann, USMC
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe/Africa