Hill F-35s over the UTTR

Three U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs, assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron from Hill Air Force Base, conduct flight training operations over the Utah Test and Training Range on Feb 14, 2018. 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — All but the most essential personnel at Hill Air Force Base are now being required to work from home, as the base continues efforts to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The base announced late Monday night that it would move its workforce to “mission essential reporting” only.

According to a statement from Hill, mission essential personnel are being identified by individual unit supervisors and commanders. The new policy requires that nonessential base workers stay off the installation unless they are granted permission from a supervisor or a member of their unit’s leadership team. Hill says contractors will continue performing their work, albeit mostly off base, unless otherwise notified.

The new policy went into effect Tuesday.

“We are doing everything in our power to protect our airmen, our civilian airmen and our government contractors and their families,” said Col. Jon Eberlan, 75th Air Base Wing Commander, in the statement. “This is mine and the senior leadership’s number one priority across the installation.”

It’s unclear exactly how many of the base’s approximately 25,000 employees are being required to work from home, but all employees at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex are deemed essential, as are a big chunk of the airmen working in the base’s 388th Fighter Wing.

The Ogden ALC is made up of more than 8,000 employees who perform repair, overhaul and modification on planes like the F-35, F-16, F-22, A-10, C-130 and T-38 aircraft. The complex also performs work on the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile system and other items like rocket motors, air munitions and guided bombs, software, electronics and other aerospace components. The fighter wing operates the Air Force’s foremost F-35 combat unit.

“All airmen in the 388th Fighter Wing — active duty, civilians and contractors — are considered mission essential when supporting flying operations,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “We’re ready to defend our nation and to support our communities when called upon.”

Hill’s commissary, base exchange, pharmacy and medical center will remain open during the mission essential reporting procedure.

Base spokesman Donovan Potter said Hill has not implemented any furloughs and there are currently no base personnel going without pay. He said many base employees were already working from home before the new directive went into effect.

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