NewsCentral & Southern Arizona NewsTucson News


COVID-19: Davis-Monthan balances health safety with mission

Masks across base
Posted at 7:52 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 22:52:29-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is so large it is essentially a city within the city. The Coronavirus has required a careful response from D-M.

Military bases like Davis Monthan have a new challenge. There are the regular challenges to prepare, maintain and train but now there’s the new challenge to prepare for COVID-19.

Keeping A-10’s ready to fly is a team effort---that can force maintainers much closer together than the recommended six feet. On the D-M flightline, airmen are wearing protection like face masks but sometimes remove them to avoid another danger---that the masks could be pulled into a jet engine intake.

A-10 Pilots and maintainers are the best known part of the base but there’s a broad D-M community living on and off base with about 45 thousand people including airmen and their families plus a wide range of civilian workers.

Base Commander Colonel Mike Drowley and Command Chief Master Sergeant James Lyda share daily briefings by video ---striking a balance between the mission and protecting the people who make the mission possible.

Colonel Drowley talked about protective masks in part of one recent briefing. He said, “The mask really helps when you talk about things where you may be carrying the virus and are asymptomatic or not showing symptoms yet, and it'll protect others that may be in that space when you have to do some of that mission essential work that we talked about.”

Colonel Drowley knows this is one of those times in history where we are asked to rise to a challenge.

He says, “This is really a defining point for our generation and my hope is that they can look at themselves in the mirror and go, ‘ can be proud of what I did. I helped the team out, I served the team, and we made it through that in a fine fashion.”