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Tucson's Davis-Monthan base halts flight ops, issues 'social distancing' order in face of CV-19

Tucson's Air Force base has ordered a halt to training flights and is implementing "Health Protection Condition Charlie" — the second-most stringent set of measures — in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

There are no confirmed cases on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, military representatives said Wednesday night.

The base's status was increased from "Bravo" on order of the Pentagon, and was put in place by Col. Michael Drowley, the commander of the 355th Wing here.

"The health of our airmen, their families and our community partners remains our top priority, and this is a prudent measure taken to help minimize the potential spread of the virus at Davis-Monthan and within the county," a statement from the base said.

"Flying operations are paused until further notice. Personnel should contact their leadership for further details," the statement said.

Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista also moved to "Charlie" condition, but U.S. Army officials there did not disclose any information about shifts in base operations.

From the Air Force base:

HPCON Charlie and Davis-Monthan's updated posture includes the following actions:

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  • Strict hygiene (frequently washing and/or sanitizing hands, wiping common-use items with disinfectant)
  • Covering mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing; and staying home when sick
  • Practicing social distancing and refraining from physical contact such as hand shaking, fist bumps, and sharing food
  • Cancellation of large-scale community events

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper ordered all Department of Defense components to move up to "Charlie" status.

Other potential actions listed by the Air Force under the "Charlie" condition include shelter-in-place orders.

The only remaining step on the list of health protection measures is "Delta" status, which includes quarantines and mass evacuations.

About 80 of the Air Force's 320 A-10 "Warthog" attack jets are based in Tucson.

The heavily armored, fixed-wing aircraft specializes in close-air ground support and has the ability to take heavy fire while attacking tanks, armored vehicles and other targets.

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