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NEWS | April 6, 2020

AETC implements DOD guidance of use of cloth face coverings

By Air Education and Training Command Air Education and Training Command

In line with Secretary of Defense and Air Force guidance, Air Education and Training Command has directed, to the greatest extent practical, all individuals on AETC installations to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing in public areas or work centers.

“The safety of our Airmen and families is our top concern as we continue our essential mission of recruiting, training and educating exceptional Airmen,” said Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander. “Cloth face masks provide an added layer of protection for everyone on our team. Being proactive with the things we can control is critical in our battle against the virus.”

The Department of Defense continues to place enhanced mitigation protocols as medical professionals learn more about the virus.             

“COVID-19 is a new virus, and we have learned that asymptomatic patients can spread the virus up to 48 hours prior being symptomatic,” said Col. Gianna Zeh, AETC Command Surgeon General. “Due to this, the CDC is now recommending the wear of face masks and coverings to reduce potential spread of the virus from those who may be sick and don’t know it yet.”

Cloth masks and gloves do not replace or override the need for social distancing measures or occupational personal protective equipment, according to Zeh.   

According to the guidance, commanders will ensure face coverings worn by uniformed military members are conservative, professional, and in keeping with dignity and respect according to the guidance. Also, N-95 and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers.    

Various cloth items worn as face coverings — neck gaiters, neck warmers, balaclavas, etc.— may be acceptable as long as they are functional, cleaned and maintained.  

Wing commanders will provide more detailed guidance concerning wear of the masks for those who work in situations where social distancing is not easily accomplished and identify potential exceptions as appropriate.

***It is to be noted that the use of a cloth face covering does not prevent the wearer from getting sick or eliminate the need to continue the primary mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. ***

Additional information on creating a cloth face mask is available at