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NEWS | Aug. 6, 2020

Navy Reserve Region SE Begins Phased Return to On-site Drill Weekends

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amy Taylor

SLIDESHOW | 1 images | RCC Southeast - Jacksonville Logo RCC Jacksonville logo.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Starting in July, Reserve Region Southeast’s Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSCs) began a phased return to on-site drill weekends with precautions in place to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

After nearly five months of virtual drills, the phased return allows Reserve Sailors to better maintain essential mission readiness requirements.

“For July, we had every NOSC submit reopening plans that focused on providing more facility access while mitigating risk to the maximum extent possible,” said Capt. Dale Maxey, commander of Navy Region Southeast Reserve Component Command (RCC SE) Jacksonville.
While NOSCs did not close, in-person support was shifted to mission essential business only, with the vast majority of Reserve Sailor support being accomplished through telework and virtual drills.

As directed by Commander Navy Reserve Forces (CNRFC), each plan assessed local Health Protection Conditions, detailed access points to facilities, and outlined NOSC leadership steps to maintain safety during the drill weekends.

“A key factor to our success in July was limiting the number of Sailors drilling on-site to a very narrow group based on mission requirement prioritization, pending mobilizations and member travel requirements,” said Maxey. “This allowed us to service an average of 20% of the normal drill weekend numbers. After capturing lessons from July, we are working on plans for August that could support a higher percentage at the NOSCs.”

NOSC Greenville used a ‘by invitation only’ method for their first on-site drill in July. Focusing on members who would need priority access due to upcoming readiness requirements, the NOSC staff compiled a list of 25 individuals to attend.

“The challenge is continuing to keep Reserve members ready for mobilization during this COVID environment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Freeman, commanding officer of NOSC Greenville. “To meet this challenge, I have my staff continuously screening member records to ensure we have them ready at a moment’s notice.”

The NOSC Greenville medical staff contacted each Reserve Sailor scheduled for the on-site drill 72 hours prior to the weekend to screen for possible exposure to COVID-19. Upon arrival, each Sailor was screened again and had a temperature check at the entry control point.

The drill weekend had the Sailors completing tasks through a revolving schedule to control the number of personnel entering the building at one time. Members were also assigned to specific rooms to maintain social distancing and twice a day the building was cleaned and sanitized.

“Feedback we received throughout the day was that members were happy to return to a face-to-face drill weekend,” said Freeman. “We look forward to continuing to provide quality customer service for all assigned Reservists and continue to help them succeed in their naval career.”

NRSE RCC is responsible for the management of 19 NOSCs staffed by more than 300 full-time support Sailors and Civilians serving over 8,800 Navy Reserve personnel. With NOSCs spanning five states including Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Puerto Rico, NRSE RCC’s mission is to generate mobilization readiness by providing administrative services, training support and world-class customer service to Reserve personnel in support of surge and operational requirements for the Navy and Joint Forces team.