Force protection, Zika, top Town Hall topics

APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, addresses APG Soldiers and civilians of during the Installation Town Hall at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center Aug. 30. | U.S. Army photo by Yvonne Johnson, APG News

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – APG Soldiers and civilians listened to updates about how the military and the state of Maryland are monitoring the Zika Virus; upcoming events such as the Oktoberfest set for Sept. 16-17; ongoing preparations for the Automated Installation Entry system set for later this year; and more, during the Installation Town Hall at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center Aug. 30.

APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford hosted the event. He was assisted by Garrison Commander Col. James E. Davis and a panel of subject matter experts from Morale, Welfare and Recreation; the Directorate of Public Works; Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES, and Corvias Military Living. In addition, the installation’s senior noncommissioned officers, Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew D. McCoy of CECOM and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia Jr., were also in attendance.

Crawford encouraged listeners to use the services currently available to them.

“If we have a service and you want to keep it, then use it,” he said. “Someone is always checking the books and if it’s actually costing the Army money and people aren’t using it, then expect it to go away.”

Crawford encouraged the community to take the time to familiarize themselves with the requirements for when Reveille and Retreat are sounded and adhere to them.

“We don’t have that many Soldiers [on post] but there’s plenty of veterans and retirees,” he said, adding that “some folks are taking shortcuts and being disrespectful,” when the songs are played.

Crawford introduced Col. Peter Mueller, the new chaplain of the Communications-Electronics Command, and talked about readiness, the top priority of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.

In keeping with readiness and force protection, Davis brought up APG Director of Emergency Services Stephen Jellie to brief community members on the Automated Installation Entry systems, set to go operational later this year, which involves swiping an ID card to gain access to APG.

Jellie said the operation is moving forward but the AIE does not mean reduced guard presence on the gates.

“This is the kind of system that requires personnel,” he said, adding that they are “looking for a mid-November to December kickoff.”

He said the AIE will make the community safer and “provide very detailed checks of those hoping to gain entry.”

He added that the thoroughness of the system may provide problems for some current CAC holders but those would be handled individually.

“If you have parking tickets or anything else on that vehicle, it will show up,” Davis added.

Zika and mosquito surveillance

Lt. Col. Wesley J. Anderson, KUSAHC commander, provided a Zika virus update consisting of general information and actions in place, as well as actions that will be taken if APG receives travel-related or locally-acquired Zika cases.

Currently there are no locally-acquired cases in Maryland and people should take the standard mosquito precautions. These include mitigating breeding sites such as standing water in man-made objects; and avoiding travel to areas at high-risk for Zika or with known Zika cases.

“A lot is going on surrounding Zika and handling a potential outbreak,” Anderson said, noting that several major health organizations recently gathered at APG to discuss Zika.

Measures already in place include conducting vector surveillance for mosquitos carrying the virus by KUSAHC, Environmental Health specialists and the Directorate of Public Works.

In addition the Harford County Public Health Department, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and several other agencies are monitoring the situation in Maryland.

Responses to a diagnosis of Zika virus will depend on if the case is travel-related or locally acquired, but everyone should take the standard precautions – including staying indoors instead of sitting on the patio at night – to avoid the virus, Anderson said.

DPW

Updates from the Directorate of Public Works included discussion of the new ceremonial sign under construction at the Route 715 gate and the installation of new marquees, or light up signs, at the main post chapel, the Express and the Route 715 and 22 gates.

MWR

APG MWR encouraged attendees to attend Oktoberfest, a German-style festival for the entire community, set for Sept. 16-17. Events include a Volksmarch, car show, Bingo, family entertainment, and German cuisine, music and beer, centered at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center. Check www.apgmwr.com for more information.

Corvias

Corvias Military Living reminded all attendees that Department of Defense contractors are eligible to rent homes in the government housing area. For more information, contact Corvias Military Living at http://apg.corviasmilitaryliving.com or call 410-305-1076.

Questions for the APG Garrison Commander can be submitted online by visiting www.teamapg.com and clicking the “ICE Comment” button.