June 2022 — MHCE Newsletter

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News from MHCE


American Airlines has

Parked 100 Jets Due to

Pilot Shortage

See page 22

Monthly Newsletter


Pfizer COVID Shot

80% Effective in

Young Kids, Early

Data Shows

Pfizer and its German partner,

BioNTech, said Monday that

an early analysis showed

their three-dose coronavirus

vaccine regimen triggered

a strong immune response

in young children, proving

80% effective at preventing

symptomatic infections in

children 6 months to 4 years


The results, along with other

recent developments, signal

that the long and frustrating

wait for a vaccine for the

youngest children, the last

group to lack access, could

be over within weeks.

A few hours after Pfizer and

BioNTech issued a news

release announcing the data,

which has not been peer

reviewed, the Food and

Drug Administration said

its outside experts will meet

June 14 and 15 to discuss

the Moderna and Pfizer-

BioNTech pediatric vaccines.

Pfizer and BioNTech said

they plan to finish filing data

with the FDA this week

and warned that the efficacy

number was fluid because

results are still arriving.

If the FDA advisory panel

looks favorably on the

vaccines, the agency could

authorize them as soon as

June 16 or 17.

Vaccine advisers to the

Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention then would

consider who should get

the vaccines, with a final

recommendation coming

from agency director

Rochelle Walensky shortly

afterward. The vaccines

would probably be available


"This is incredibly exciting

data!" Kawsar Talaat, a

pediatrician and vaccine

expert at Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg School of Public

Health, wrote in an email. "I

also think that it reinforces

what we've seen in adults as

well. For the Omicron variant,

a third dose is necessary for

optimal protection."

Federal officials are already

reviewing the pediatric

vaccine from biotechnology

company Moderna, a twoshot

regimen that was 51%

effective in preventing

Continued on page 13

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Focus on Oversight a Key for Success at


In the corrections industry, maintaining high standards of

operation is imperative to meeting the needs of the individuals

in our care. That's why CoreCivic adheres to a stringent set of

guidelines set forth by our own standards, as well as those of our

government partners and the American Correctional Association


Founded in 1870, the ACA is considered the national benchmark

for the effective operation of correctional systems throughout

the United States. To become accredited, a facility must achieve

compliance with ACA mandatory standards and a minimum of

90 percent non-mandatory standards. CoreCivic facilities adhere

to ACA standards, and in 2020, CoreCivic earned an average

ACA audit score of 99.6 percent across all facilities.

Key ACA audit areas include facility personnel, resident reentry

programs, resident safety, health care, and more.

holds our facilities and staff to a high standard. To be able to

represent our facility and receive reaccreditation in person is an


Adhering to ACA standards is only one part of CoreCivic's

commitment to robust oversight. When government partners

utilize CoreCivic's services, we are held not only to our own

high standards and those of the ACA, but we are often held to

the same or higher accountability of our public counterparts

through stringent government contracts, unfettered access to

our facilities for our partners, and hundreds of on-site quality

assurance monitors.

We provide access to our government partners, with most of

our facilities having government agency employees known as

contract monitors who are physically on-site to ensure we are

operating in line with partner guidelines.

Recently, the ACA held in Nashville, Tennessee, its 151st

Congress of Corrections, an annual convention that brings

together corrections professionals from across the country. In

addition to various workshops and events at the convention, the

ACA Commission on Accreditation also held panel hearings to

award accreditation to correctional facilities that meet the ACA's

rigorous requirements. Listed below are the seven CoreCivic

facilities that earned reaccreditation this year, with mandatory/

non-mandatory scores:

• Bent County Correctional Facility - 100/99.0

• Citrus County Detention Facility - 100/100

• Eloy Detention Center - 100/100

• Lake Erie Correctional Institution - 100/99.3

• Saguaro Correctional Center - 100/99.8

• Stewart Detention Center - 100/100

• Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility - 100/100

"The accreditation process is very important," said Warden

Fred Figueroa from Eloy Detention Center, one of the seven

CoreCivic facilities that was awarded reaccreditation. "ACA

To maintain our own high standards, annual on-site audits covering

all operational areas are administered to ensure compliance with

contractual and regulatory obligations and corporate-mandated

requirements. Each CoreCivic Safety facility is audited by our

internal quality assurance division, which is independent from

our operations division. Facilities are expected to be audit-ready

year-round, maintaining continuous compliance with numerous

applicable standards.

CoreCivic employs 75 staff members dedicated to quality

assurance, including several subject matter experts with extensive

experience from all major disciplines within our institutional


"A lot of hard work goes into preparing for these audits,"

Figueroa said. "Once they're complete, the staff can see their

accomplishments and feel proud."

Having multiple levels of oversight helps CoreCivic maintain

a safe environment for those in our care. By holding ourselves

accountable to our own high standards, along with our

government partners' and ACA's standards, CoreCivic continues

to be a trusted partner working to better the public good.

6 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

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8 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

Infectious Disease Expert Takes Charge as

Army’s Top Health Officer in Europe

LANDSTUHL, Germany U.S. troops are unlikely to

have to endure a repeat of the heavy COVID-19 restrictions

they faced during the early days of the pandemic, the Army’s

new top health officer in Europe said Wednesday.

“The extreme lockdown that we experienced, I don’t think

we’ll see that again,” Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray told Stars

and Stripes after taking command of Regional Health


The regional command provides medical and dental services

to personnel in about 40 countries, including support for

troops in U.S. central and Africa commands.

Murray took charge of the unit from Brig. Gen. Mark

Thompson in a ceremony at Landstuhl Regional Medical

Center. Soldiers stood in close formation before dozens of

attendees, all without masks.

It contrasted starkly with the welcome Thompson received

when he arrived in the spring of 2020, in the early stages of

an outbreak that countries the world over struggled for two

years to control.

In his speech Wednesday, Thompson recalled the challenges

of assuming command as the COVID-19 pandemic began


WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 9

He thanked the medical staff, who he said had administered

some 210,000 vaccine doses and 360,000 coronavirus tests.

“You collectively did the impossible over the last two

years,” Thompson said.

The regional command provides medical and dental services

to personnel in about 40 countries, including support for

troops in U.S. central and Africa commands.

Murray took charge of the unit from Brig. Gen. Mark

Thompson in a ceremony at Landstuhl Regional Medical

Center. Soldiers stood in close formation before dozens of

attendees, all without masks.

It contrasted starkly with the welcome Thompson received

when he arrived in the spring of 2020, in the early stages of

an outbreak that countries the world over struggled for two

years to control.

In his speech Wednesday, Thompson recalled the challenges

of assuming command as the COVID-19 pandemic began


He thanked the medical staff, who he said had administered

some 210,000 vaccine doses and 360,000 coronavirus tests.

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Thompson also noted efforts by the command

to care for Afghan evacuees who passed

through U.S. bases in Germany on their way

to the United States after the fall of their

country to the Taliban.

Medical staff at Landstuhl treated 391 Afghan

patients and delivered 26 babies, he said.

Thompson will head to U.S. Army Medical

Command headquarters at Fort Sam Houston

in San Antonio, Texas, said Gino Mattorano,

a spokesman for Regional Health Command-


He will trade cities with Murray, who

previously helmed Brooke Army Medical

Center in San Antonio.

The harsh restrictions at the beginning of

the pandemic were due to concerns about a

lack of hospital beds as well as the absence

of vaccines and testing tools, which are now

available, Murray told Stars and Stripes.

Health officials will have to see whether the

virus continues to mutate into new variants.

But should that happen, they’re more

prepared than they were at the beginning of

the pandemic, he added.

“We may move back and forth on wearing

masks and having events, changing a little bit

of what we do, but I don’t think we’ll ever go

back to when we truly shut down,” Murray


Murray specialized in infectious diseases at

multiple points during his career, according

to a biography provided by Regional Health


He completed a fellowship in infectious

diseases in 2002 and reviewed infection

control procedures during a deployment to

Afghanistan in 2012. He is a member of the

Infectious Diseases Society of America, a

medical association based in Arlington, Va.

12 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION


contact kyle.stephens@mhce.us

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illness in children between 6 months and 2 years old, and

37% effective in children 2 to 5 years old.

Regulators previously had set aside three dates for the FDA's

outside experts to review the vaccines for young children,

beginning with a session on June 8. Those meetings are now



Under the revised schedule, the FDA and its outside

experts will discuss the Moderna vaccine for children and

adolescents from 6 to 17 years old on June 14. The following

day, they will review vaccines for the youngest children,

with advisers evaluating the Moderna vaccine for children

6 months through 5 years old and the Pfizer-BioNTech

vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years old.

"The overall data are encouraging such that it is really hard

to look at one vaccine apart from the other," according to an

official familiar with the process who spoke on the condition

of anonymity because that person was not authorized to

speak publicly. The official suggested the two vaccines

would probably be reviewed side by side.

A CDC planning document notes that vaccines are expected

to be shipped immediately after being authorized by the

FDA. Preordering for doses could begin in late May or

early June, but an exact date will be contingent on when the

FDA's external advisers meet.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children younger than

5 is a three-shot regimen tested in nearly 1,700 children.

Each dose is one-tenth of the adult dose. The third shot

was added in December after it became clear that two shots

failed to muster an immune response equivalent to what

was generated in young adults in early coronavirus vaccine

trials. It is given two months after the second shot.

Although that setback was hugely disappointing to parents,

the addition of a third shot was seen by many experts as

necessary because the omicron variant of the coronavirus

had fundamentally changed the pandemic. The two shots

that provided robust protection against infection and severe

illness early on were markedly less protective against the

omicron variant.

"Omicron has really thrown a curveball on us it seems

that two doses are not sufficient for adequate efficacy against

infection with Omicron, with any vaccine, at any age," Flor

Munoz, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Baylor

College of Medicine, said in an email before the new data

was released.

14 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

While the adult trials recruited tens of thousands of

volunteers and waited to see if vaccinated people were

better protected, the children's vaccine trials were primarily

designed to measure immune responses using blood tests.

The criteria for success was whether a vaccine provoked

a comparable immune response to what was seen among

young adults in trials conducted before the widespread

emergence of variants. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and

Moderna pediatric vaccines succeeded on that measure,

although the significance of that benchmark has shifted

with the emergence of the omicron variant.


The companies also measured cases of symptomatic illness

in the population, and Pfizer and BioNTech said the 80%

efficacy finding was preliminary and based on 10 cases of

COVID-19 in the study population as of the end of April.

Once 21 cases have occurred, the companies will conduct a

more formal analysis of efficacy.

David Benkeser, a biostatistician at Emory University's

Rollins School of Public Health, said the updated data

would probably be ready before a decision would need to

be made, and that he wouldn't be surprised if the efficacy

number declined somewhat as more cases occur.

"Even still, it appears the data are so far pointing towards

a safe and effective vaccine for young children," Benkeser

wrote in an email.

Moderna's two-shot vaccine regimen was about 51%

effective in children 6 months to 2 years old, and 37%

effective in children 2 to 5 years old.

If Pfizer's efficacy data holds up, it could pose a conundrum

for public health officials, physicians and parents. If

both vaccines are cleared by the FDA, the CDC advisory

committee could weigh whether one vaccine should be

recommended over the other.

Moderna is studying a booster given six months after the

last shot.


contact nathan.stiles@mhce.us

In either case, the hope is that children will be fully

vaccinated in advance of a potential surge in the fall.

On Sunday, before the Pfizer announcement, White House

coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha predicted on

ABC News' "This Week" that children could have access

to a shot "in the next few weeks" and that action would be

taken on the Moderna vaccine as soon as regulators were

finished with their review.

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16 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

Army Poll Finds Widespread Unawareness Among

Gen Z About Perks of Military Career

Young adult Americans think they know a lot about Army

life, but a newly released cross-generational survey showing

otherwise is giving the service impetus to fill in the knowledge

gaps amid a recruitment crisis.

“The Army has what Gen Z is looking for in an employer. They

just don’t know it yet,” Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, chief of Army

enterprise marketing, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The Know Your Army national consumer survey found that 73%

of respondents ages 18 to 25 claimed familiarity with the Army,

the highest level of any generation polled.

But survey participants in that age group turned out to be largely

unaware of what the Army can offer them.

More than half of Generation Z respondents did not realize

that soldiers can receive benefits such as tuition assistance and

the possibility of earning full college tuition. Regarding early

retirement benefits, only 31% were in the know.

The release of the polling data comes as the service touts a new

advertising campaign that talks up the wide range of benefits

associated with military life.

Instead of highlighting soldiers in the field, the “Know Your

Army” ads call attention to things such as pension plans,

mortgage loan perks and free schooling. The aim is to show how

such privileges set the Army apart from civilian employers.

Given the difficult recruiting environment, which military

officials have blamed in part on a competitive labor market, the

Army’s 2023 budget request calls for an end-strength of 473,000

active-duty soldiers, even though Congress has authorized the

force to grow to 500,000 by 2022.

Military officials have said that the cap is temporary and that the

Army intends to grow once the recruiting environment improves.

Another misperception about Army life for 30% of Generation

Z polled is that the majority of jobs available to soldiers are

combat-related, the Army said.

The survey was conducted by the Army in March across a

sample of 3,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 76. No

margin of error was listed.

Top brass has previously sounded alarms over the service’s

difficulty finding qualified recruits in that 18-25 age range.


contact nathan.stiles@mhce.us

“We are in a war for talent,” Gen. James McConville, the Army

chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May.

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18 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

Business Is Global. Your Education Can Be, Too.

Complete Business Minor in One

Summer across Two Countries

By taking the five courses offered in this 12-week program, you

can complete a Business Minor and enjoy the unique opportunity

to immerse yourself in a cultural experience. Our Complete

Business Minor Abroad program will take you to the beautiful

streets of Rome, Italy, and Madrid, Spain, this Summer 2022


Business Core Fast Track

By taking the five courses offered in this 12-week program, you

can complete a Business Minor and enjoy the unique opportunity

to immerse yourself in a cultural experience. Our Complete

Business Minor Abroad program will take you to the beautiful

streets of Rome, Italy, and Madrid, Spain, this Summer 2022


2022 Program Update

In these uncertain times, the Harbert College of Business is

taking extraordinary steps to ensure the health and welfare of its

students. As such, only two study abroad trips will be offered for

this summer.

Please be on the lookout for details on offerings of a range of

Study Abroad Programs in Summer 2023. We appreciate your

interest and will be global again as soon as possible.

Study Abroad

At the Harbert College of Business, we offer the opportunity to

experience different business cultures, practices and standards

around the world. Round out your undergraduate experience with

a study abroad trip to Italy and Spain and gain a global business


Undergraduate study abroad opportunities will allow you to gain

experience with a variety of contexts.

Have Questions?

COVID-19 has made the idea of international travel seem far

away. Let us reassure you we will provide a safe study abroad

experience that will give you an edge in your future career

Dr. Daniel Butler

Assistant Dean, Harbert Global Programs

Thomas Walter Professor



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DODEA Seniors’ Last Checklist: Caps, Gowns and



Graduation ceremonies have begun

at Defense Department schools in

Europe, where more than 1,300 seniors

are completing their secondary studies.

The first batch of graduates in the

Department of Defense Education

Activity-Europe’s Class of 2022 walked

the stage May 29, when 53 seniors

received their diplomas at Bahrain

Middle/High School.

Most ceremonies are this week. On

a stage set up inside Kaiserslautern

High School’s stadium on Wednesday,

Michelle Howard-Brahaney, the

director of DODEA-Europe, told 165

graduates to “greet the future with

optimism, open minds and open hearts.”

“The experiences you’ve gained

through this will serve you and our

country the rest of your lives,” she said.

A total of 1,375 students are expected

to receive their diplomas at 21 schools

from the United Kingdom to the Middle


Graduating class sizes range from

seven at Ankara Elementary/High

School in Turkey to 183 at Ramstein

High School.

The high school seniors are part of

DODEA-Europe’s 75th graduating

class. The milestone harkens back to

post-war Germany, when five high

schools opened their doors to the first

children of U.S. military members

serving abroad.

“The world has changed dramatically in

the 75 years since our mission began,”

said Stephen Smith, a DODEA-Europe

spokesman. “However, the spirit of our

teachers and administrators is the same

now as it was then, infused to the core

with determination and innovation.”

Most of this year’s graduation

ceremonies are being held on U.S.

military bases, in facilities such as

stadiums and aircraft hangars or in

community parks.

A handful are off base. Alconbury and

Lakenheath in the United Kingdom

held their ceremonies this week at Ely

Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, while

Wiesbaden High School’s ceremony

will be Friday in the city’s stately


Ankara’s seven seniors will mark

the end of their high school years

at a ceremony Friday in the U.S.

ambassador’s residence.

Ramstein cheered on its graduates

Thursdayin a car parade before sending

them off with their diplomas at a

ceremony Friday evening in hangar

No. 3.

Both SHAPE and AFNORTH hold

their ceremonies June 10, the last of the

DODEA-Europe 2022 commencement

events scheduled.


contact nathan.stiles@mhce.us

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contact kyle.stephens@mhce.us

22 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

American Airlines has Parked 100 Jets Due to Pilot


A shortage of pilots from retirements

and pandemic cutbacks has forced Fort

Worth-based American Airlines to park

about 100 of its smaller regional jets,

even amid strong summer passenger


“There is a supply and demand imbalance

right now and it really is within the

regional carrier ranks,” American

Airlines CEO Robert Isom said Friday

at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions

investor conference in New York. “We

have probably 100 aircraft or almost 100

aircraft that aren’t productive right now,

that aren’t flying.”

Isom’s comments come amid soaring

airfare prices as travelers are eager to

get out after two years of pandemic

restrictions and as airlines work to get

back to pre-pandemic flying levels.

Nearly every airline in the industry is

facing similar issues with struggles to

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 23

replace pilots and other key workers, even though

several are forecasting record revenues.

Airlines would love to take advantage of rising

ticket prices from high consumer demand. Airline

ticket prices for summer travel are up about 48%

compared with 2019, according to travel site

Hopper. That more than offsets rising fuel and labor

costs. American upped its second-quarter revenue

projections on Friday, now expecting to bring in

sales 11 to 13% higher than during the same period

in pre-pandemic 2019.

The 2022 summer travel season has seen airlines try

to balance their own ability to fly bigger schedules

versus the risk of meltdowns if operations are

stretched too thin. As carriers such as Delta, JetBlue

and Southwest have cut flights to focus on reducing

delays, American Airlines is flying a schedule that

is about 20% larger than its next nearest competitor

at Delta.

The biggest constraint, Isom said, comes in the

number of pilots American Airlines and its regional

carriers are able to hire. About 1,000 of American’s

15,000 pilots took early retirement packages during

the COVID-19 pandemic. Paired with a large

number of pilots slated to hit mandatory retirement

age, it hass left carriers such as American with a

deficit of key employees.

American has filled that gap by hiring pilots from

regional carriers, including its own at wholly-owned

airlines such as Envoy and Piedmont. In turn, that

leaves a shortage of pilots to fly the smaller 50 and

75-passenger jets.

“There are constraints out there in terms of aircraft,

there are constraints around pilots from the

perspective of the mainline and through training,”

Isom said.

American and others have increased pay for regional pilots and have

added signing and retention bonuses to help students through flight

school. The economic incentives of jobs that pay more than $200,000 a

year should eventually attract more pilots, but it could take several years

to get the number of pilots needed to properly staff airlines, Isom said.

“I see demand for travel,” Isom said. “I see an industry that has been

more or less constrained and now trying to say back up and is still facing

those constraints.”

American has been able to make up some of the

cutbacks in flights by using larger regional jets and

parking smaller models, Isom said.

While that helps carry more passengers, using

bigger planes also means fewer frequencies,

especially to smaller destinations. Regional airlines

fly 43% of the country’s flights. according to the

Regional Airline Association, and two-thirds of

the country’s airports are only served by regional




24 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

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WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 25

Biden Tells Navy Graduates Next Decade

will be Decisive for Democracy and

World Order

President Joe Biden told U.S.

Naval Academy graduates on

Friday that the next decade

will be decisive for democracy,

national security and reshaping

the international world order for


Russia’s brutal assault on

Ukraine has spurred a fight that

is dividing the globe in terms of

geography and values, Biden

said at the academy’s graduation

and commissioning ceremony.

applied to join the military

alliance earlier this month after

decades of neutrality.

“[Putin] has NATO-ized all of

Europe,” Biden said.

Fresh off a trip to Asia, the

president told graduates that

they will be at the forefront

of U.S. efforts to counter the

rising dominance of China. The

maritime theater in the Indo-

Pacific a region that will be

“vital to the future of our world”

will be the “leading edge” of

America’s response to natural

humanitarian disasters, Biden


“[We will show] people

throughout the region the

unmatched ability of the United

States to be a force for good,” he


The Navy will be tasked with

strengthening connections with

allies and implementing an Indo-

Pacific strategy that ensures

freedom of navigation of the

South China Sea and keeps sea

lanes open and secure, Biden


“These long-standing basic

maritime principles are the

bedrock of a global economy

and global stability,” he

said. “Sailors and mariners,

submariners and SEALs, Navy

aviators and surface warfare

officers, we’re going to look to

you to ensure the security of the

American people.”

Creating a Culture

“We’re living through a global

struggle between autocracies

and democracies,” he said.

Biden accused Russian President

Vladimir Putin of aiming to

conquer Ukraine to wipe out the

identify of its people. Attacks

on schools, nurseries, hospitals,

museums serve no other purpose

than to eliminate the Ukrainian

culture, he said.

“That’s what you’re graduating

into,” Biden said. “A world

that more than ever requires

strong principles and engaged

American leadership, where

America leads not only by the

example of its power but the

power of its example.”

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The fallout from the war in

Ukraine is already changing

longstanding defense postures

around the world, he said.

Putin’s attempt to “Finlandize”

Europe into neutrality has

backfired, Biden said, driving

Finland and Sweden into

NATO’s arms. The two nations

Learn more at frontier.edu/military

26 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION




WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 27


contact Kyle.Stephens@mhce.us

28 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

Special Olympics Drops

Vaccine Rule After $27M

Fine Threat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Special Olympics

has dropped a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its

games in Orlando after Florida moved to fine the

organization $27.5 million for violating a state law

against such rules.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced

the organization had removed the requirement for its

competition in the state, which is scheduled to run

June 5 to June 12.

"In Florida, we want all of them to be able to compete.

We do not think it's fair or just to be marginalizing

some of these athletes based on a decision that has

no bearing on their ability to compete with honor

or integrity," DeSantis said at a news conference in


5,500 violations of state law for requiring proof of

coronavirus vaccination for attendees or participants.

Florida law bars businesses from requiring

documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination. DeSantis

has strongly opposed vaccine mandates and other

virus policies endorsed by the federal government.

In a statement on its website, the Special Olympics

said people who were registered but unable to

participate because of the mandate can now attend.


contact Kyle.Stephens@mhce.us

The Florida health department notified the Special

Olympics of the fine in a letter Thursday that said

the organization would be fined $27.5 million for

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 29

Army Units in South

Korea Receive Award

for Initial Response to

COVID-19 Pandemic


South Korea Eighth

Army received the Army

Superior Unit Award for

its efforts in curbing the

spread of COVID-19

during the onset of the

pandemic in South Korea,

according to a press

release Thursday.

“Eighth Army and cited

units displayed outstanding

meritorious service

through their response

to the global pandemic

cause by COVID-19,

making their #1 priority

to protect the force during

these extraordinary

circumstances,” the

award’s citation said.

The citation from the

Army’s Human Resources

Command added that

Eighth Army’s efforts

“enabled the effective

response to the pandemic

not only on the Korean

Peninsula but more

importantly informed

response operations


Soldiers present for duty

while being attached to

Eighth Army or one of

several units in South

Korea between Jan. 28,

2020, to April 30, 2020,

are eligible to wear the

superior unit award

permanently. Army

civilian employees who

served within the same

timeframe are also eligible

for the award.

South Korea became one

of the first countries to

report COVID-19 cases

outside of China in January

2020. In Daegu, roughly

100 miles southeast of

Camp Humphreys in

Pyeongtaek, the U.S.

military reported its firstever

COVID-19 case on

Feb. 20, 2020.

U.S. Forces Korea, the

command responsible for

roughly 28,500 troops

on the peninsula, and

its individual garrison

commanders initiated

lockdowns as case

numbers increased in the

military community.

The Army’s response

in South Korea, which

included the construction

of several quarantine

facilities and the

reassignment of thousands

of service members,

became the testing

ground for the military’s

worldwide pandemic


Col. Michael Tremblay,

the former garrison

commander at Camp

Humphreys, did not

leave the base for 102

consecutive days.

“Everybody’s singular

focus from then on was,

‘How do we get this from

getting inside,’” he said in

June 2021. “We quickly

ramped up the things

that we were doing. For

those three months, we

did nothing but 24-hour

operations, continuously

coming up with new


An Eighth Army

spokesman said the

command was “extremely

proud of our soldiers, both

past and present.”

“Their professionalism

allowed us to continue

our mission of supporting

our regional allies and

deterring potential

adversaries while

simultaneously managing

the effects of the global

pandemic,” Lt. Col. Neil

Penttila said in an email

to Stars and Stripes on


USFK counted 104 new

infections in the week

ending Monday, down

from the 141 cases

reported between May 10-

16, according to a USFK

update on Tuesday.

The command reported 98

infections May 3-9, down

from the weekly record of

1,599 cases Jan. 4-10.



30 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

VA Secretary Sets Goals to House More Veterans in

LA, Prevent Homelessness

WASHINGTON– Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary

Denis McDonough said Friday that the agency will get

more veterans into homes this year in Los Angeles and help

prevent homelessness.

The agency will get 1,500 additional veterans into homes,

and 180 housing units will be added to the campus of the West

Los Angeles VA Medical Center, along with 535 individual

veteran housing units through project-based vouchers,

McDonough told attendees at the National Coalition for

Homeless Veterans Conference, a three-day event that

gathers community-based service providers working with

veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The coalition held the conference for the first time in two

years. The theme for this year’s conference was “Coming

Together: Facing the Future,” and consisted of more than

600 service providers and partners who sought resources and

technical assistance for homeless veterans in other areas.

McDonough said the VA would use 75% of its U.S. Department

of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive

Housing vouchers. According to the VA Homeless Programs

website, the program pairs HUD's Housing Choice Voucher

rental assistance with VA case management and supportive

services for homeless veterans.

McDonough said 60% to 63% of the vouchers are used


"We're going make sure that 50% of veterans who receive

HUD-VASH vouchers find permanent housing within 90

days,” he said. "So we're not only going to use the vouchers

more aggressively, we're going to use them in a more timely


McDonough also said the agency will get 38,000 veterans

into permanent housing and is "driving hard" to prevent

veterans from becoming homeless.

"It means making existing housing more affordable through

HUD-VASH and through supportive services for veteran

families," he said. "It means helping unsheltered vets get

off the street through the grant [and] per diem program, and

it means learning every veteran's unique story and getting

them the wraparound service they need."

McDonough said those services include food, health care,

mental health care, and child care.

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 31

"Whether a veteran needs assistance addressing physical or

mental health, a substance use disorder, justice involvement,

or anything else… we're going to be there to help," he said.

The VA campus in West Los Angeles is 388 acres. The

land was donated to the government in 1888 by a wealthy

California landowner who wanted the area to be used to

provide health care and homes for disabled veterans. There

are several historic structures on the campus, and most of the

buildings were built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style,

with their characteristic red-tile roofs and stucco walls.

The campus contains a nine-hole golf course, a Japanese

garden and plenty of open space. Many of the buildings

now sit vacant, some because of their states of disrepair.

Others are vacant due to the coronavirus pandemic pushing

employees out of their offices.

In one part of the campus, construction workers are restoring

two large buildings into permanent housing units. The VA

expects to have 186 apartments ready for use by the end of

the year.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development

estimated in January 2020 that 37,252 veterans experienced

homelessness in a single night. An estimated 10% of those

veterans lived in Los Angeles.

McDonough also spoke about two successes from last year.

In October, McDonough vowed to get all homeless veterans

living in the area known as "veterans row" in Los Angeles

into housing by Nov. 1. At the time, about 40 people lived

along veterans row, a homeless encampment just outside the

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

McDonough said the agency succeeded in placing Los

Angeles homeless veterans into housing by the deadline.

In November, the secretary promised the VA would house

an additional 500 homeless veterans in Los Angeles in time

for the holidays. In December, VA Deputy Secretary Donald

Remy said the VA had surpassed that goal and found housing

for 537 veterans.

Of those veterans, 46% have found permanent housing using

government vouchers, and the rest have been accepted into

temporary housing, Remy said.

In April, McDonough signed an updated plan for a longdelayed

housing development intended to help solve the

veteran homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.

The 656-page plan, called Master Plan 2022, contains details

for a major construction project on the VA campus in West

Los Angeles. The updated plan calls for more than 1,000

housing units for homeless veterans to be under construction

within one to five years. The plan states 220 additional units

will be built within six to 10 years, and the VA will add 350

more units sometime after that.

32 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us JUNE 2022 EDITION

Spending millions to build seawalls

would be cheaper than spending

billions to rebuild the base after

a devastating hurricane, Cheney


Parris Island has so far been

spared the direct hits that have

caused billions in damage to other

military installations, but it has

been evacuated twice in the last

five years for hurricanes, which hit

South Carolina every eight years, on


Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris

Island Wages Battles, Not War, Against

Climate Change


seas are encroaching on one of

America's most storied military

installations, where thousands of

recruits are molded into Marines

each year amid the salt marshes

of South Carolina's Lowcountry


Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris

Island is particularly vulnerable

to flooding, coastal erosion and

other impacts of climate change,

a Defense Department-funded

"resiliency review" noted last

month. Some scientists project that

by 2099, three-quarters of the island

could be under water during high

tides each day.

Military authorities say they're

confident they can keep the secondoldest

Marine Corps base intact, for

now, through small-scale changes to

existing infrastructure projects.

Maj. Marc Blair, Parris Island's

environmental director, describes

this strategy as "the art of the small,"

a phrase he attributes to the base's

commanding general, Brig. Gen.

Julie Nethercot. In practice, it means

such things as raising a culvert

that needs to be repaired anyway,

limiting development in low-lying

areas and adding floodproofing

measures to firing range upgrades.

Others advocate much larger and

more expensive solutions, such

as building huge seawalls around

the base, or moving Marine Corps

training away from the coast


Parris Island has an outsized role

in military lore and American pop

culture as a proving ground for

Marines who have served in every

major conflict since World War I. It

remains a crucial training ground,

along with Marine Corps Recruit

Depot, San Diego. But the rising sea

is proving to be a formidable enemy.

Salt marsh makes up more than

half of the base's 8,000 acres, and

the depot's highest point, by the fire

station, is just 13 feet (4 meters)

above sea level. It is linked to the

mainland by a single road that's

already susceptible to flooding.

Low-lying areas on the island and

the nearby Marine Corps air station

already flood about ten times a

year, and by 2050, "the currently

flood-prone areas within both bases

could experience tidal flooding

more than 300 times annually and

be underwater nearly 30 percent of

the year given the highest scenario,"

according to the Union of Concerned


Military reports have for decades

acknowledged threats from climate

change to national security, as

wildfires, hurricanes and floods have

prompted evacuations and damaged

bases. A Pentagon document

published last fall, after President

Joe Biden ordered federal agencies

to revamp their climate resilience

plans, says the Department of

Defense now has "a comprehensive

approach to building climate-ready

installations" and cites an adaptation

and resilience study undertaken by

Parris Island.

But day-to-day disruptions are

growing, from nuisance flooding

on roads to rising temperatures

and higher humidity that when

combined, limit the human body's

ability to cool down with sweat.

Those wetter, hotter days could limit

outdoor training. Already, more

than 500 people on Parris Island

suffered from heat stroke and heat

exhaustion between 2016 and 2020,

putting the base among the top ten

U.S. military installations for heat

illnesses, according to the Armed

Forces Health Surveillance Branch.

All the training that happens at

Parris Island could be technically

replicated on cooler, drier land

somewhere else, said retired Brig.

Gen. Stephen Cheney, who served

as commanding general at the base

from 1999 to 2001.

But Cheney doesn't foresee any

appetite in Congress for closing the

base and relocating its mission to

less risky ground, which means the

government needs to start investing

in structural solutions to protect

its crucial components such as the

firing ranges near the water, he said

in an interview with The Associated


In 2018, Hurricane Florence

pummeled North Carolina's Camp

Lejeune, washing away the beach

used by Marines for training,

destroying buildings and displacing

personnel. A month later, Hurricane

Michael tore through Tyndall Air

Force Base in Florida, devastating

airplane hangars and causing $3

billion in damage.

Those disasters should serve as

cautionary tales for Parris Island,

argues Cheney. But there is no

grand overhaul currently planned

no concrete bulkheads or other

seawalls that could dramatically

revise the post's visual character, no

master plan to raise buildings all at


Hurricane planning is focused on

protecting life and preserving the

equipment and buildings necessary

to limit training disruptions, said

Col. William Truax, the depot's

director of installations and logistics.

"We're not taking on any major

projects because we've not

experienced a major threat to what

we have to do here," Truax said. "To

be honest, these old brick buildings

aren't going anywhere."

Parris Island also depends on the

resilience of communities just off

the base. Stephanie Rossi, a planner

with the Lowcountry Council of

Governments, said the group's

Defense Department-funded study

of climate change impacts suggests

shoring up the only road on and off

the island, elevating buildings and

bolstering the storm water system of

an area where military families live.

The base also works with

environmental groups to support

living shoreline projects, building

up coastal oyster reefs to strengthen

natural buffers to floods and


"The waters will recede," said Blair,

the environmental director. "The

more resilient we make this place,

the quicker we can get back to

making Marines."

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