Alabama’s Fort Rucker has become the “first military base in the continental” U.S. to begin permitting its leaders to “check the vaccination status of those in uniform.” In a video posted on Facebook, Commanding General David Francis and Branch Command Sergeant Major James Wilson announced service members not wearing a face mask will be required “to show proof of vaccination” while on duty. The order went into effect July 13, 2021.
The military base’s decision comes as COVID numbers see a spike in some areas and the new Delta variant is making its way through the country. The Washington Post reports roughly 70% of military personnel have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. In Alabama, just over 40% of the population has received at least one dose.
“COVID-19 is still with us and in some cases it’s getting worse,” said Wilson in the video. “We’re here to ask you again to follow COVID-19 mitigation measures. If you’re not vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands and social distance” he added.
“Due to the rising rates in the counties around us and some on Fort Rucker, we are now implementing GO number 12” stated Francis. General Order number 12 will be implemented and General Order number 11 will be rescinded.
“The big difference is gonna be that if you are not wearing a mask, the leadership will be able to ask you as soldiers to prove that they’ve been vaccinated by showing their vaccination card,” said Francis. “This measure is very important so that we can nip this in the bud and continue to protect our mission, protect our people, and protect the local communities.”