COVID-19, from the Command Chief's perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Christopher S. Bluto Jr.
  • 482nd Fighter Wing Command Chief

Greetings Makos!

As we continue to face this Coronavirus head on as an organization, a nation and the world, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you as to how I’m adapting to this “new normal”. Change of this magnitude is not easy for anyone, we are all human and this is unquestionably difficult. Well, except for maybe Brig. Gen. Piffarerio, I’m pretty sure he is superhuman. However, I do believe the rest of us are still better equipped and trained than the average American to adapt. We are also often viewed as Superhuman by our nation, let’s prove them right through this current challenge.

Trying to maintain routines

I am trying to keep things routine, to try and help preserve some level of control. For example, every year for as long as I can remember I have participated in Mustache March. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I am participating in Mustache March once again this year. More pertinent but less funny, is my morning routine, which helps start the day right. No matter how the day looks. Every morning I get up and walk our dog, Mako. Then, we spend a few minutes playing before getting ready for work. This is just part of my morning routine but always puts me in a great mood to start tackling the day.

Hacking the Mish

We are still here, forging forward, serving the Makos and supporting the 482 FW commander's priority: taking care of Airmen and their families, while preserving combat capability. We are staying current and up to date on the progression of COVID-19 and its impact across the globe but more specifically across our quad county area and to you as Airmen. We are advocating daily on your behalf at the numbered Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and with our local and state officials.

Just this week, Senator Rick Scott personally reached out to us to see what we need, he is extremely supportive of Homestead ARB and our efforts combating this virus. We are sharing all of these updates and information with squadron and group leadership, we want to keep everyone as informed as possible. We are also finding innovative ways to reduce our physical footprint on Homestead ARB. While every Airman is vital to our mission, some portions of the mission are capable of being accomplished from off station. We are taking advantage of this to the maximum extent possible. In contrast, there are many of our Airmen who remain on Homestead ARB every day defending our base, ready to provide first response, launching aircraft and supporting flight operations in many other capacities. We remain consummate professionals and I am proud to serve you.

Trying to remain productive

Confession: I am a chronic procrastinator. I require a suspense for projects and tasks for me to complete or I do not get to them, just ask my wife. With Homestead down to mission essential personnel and the potential of moving to more teleworking, I have a few techniques to help keep focused and productive. Part of my morning routine when I arrive to work is to identify my task lists for the day. I have a very handy notepad from Organize Me that helps me. I can write down: must do today, tasks and appointment. It even has tracking for meals, water intake and exercise. The things I do not get to accomplish are easily rolled into tomorrow’s plan. If I were teleworking, I would also use a calendar to help task myself and remain productive. I would build in time blocks to focus on certain tasks and projects, providing a suspense and helping with accountability. What is your method to help your productivity?

Helping to flatten the curve

As a citizen, I am doing everything I can to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. What does flattening the curve mean? This applies to reducing the impact to our healthcare providers. I am staying out of public places except for necessities and abiding by county/municipalities curfews to do my part in slowing the spread of this virus. One of the ways I am able to avoid contact and support social distancing is to grocery shop online for pickup. There are a few stores in Homestead that support this service, pick up times fill quickly in the morning, but if you can secure one it supports social distancing.

Remaining fit-to-fight

While many Airmen rejoiced with the Physical Fitness Assessment reschedules, it does not absolve us of our responsibility as Airmen to be fit and “always ready”. With the closure of gyms, to include our own Sam Johnson Fitness Center, there are a few challenges to remaining fit. There are a few things that I have found useful in the past when fitness centers have been unavailable, Hundred Push-ups, Two Hundred Sit-ups and Two Hundred Squats are easy and free programs that use body weight. Also, I have been running more in our neighborhood, there is a nice two mile loop inside our subdivision. It turns out our neighborhood is beautiful, and people still smile and wave as long as I remain six feet away. Below are also a few links to some free offers and websites right now that support working out in your home. I hope you find them useful and would love to hear what you are doing to stay fit-to-fight.

Socializing…from a distance

It is vitally important to remember that social distancing refers to physical social distancing, remaining six feet from others in a public setting. It does not mean social isolation. Our focus on resiliency and connectedness is more important than ever as we tackle this virus and its impacts to all of us. Social connectedness is paramount.  I am taking advantage of this time in our home to reach out to people, to reconnect and catch up with friends, mentors and even family members. Technology has made socializing from a distance so easy, we can even see the people we are reconnecting with instead of just hearing voices or typing to them. The options such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom etc. make it easy for our family and friends to see my March Mustache from many states and even countries away. Are they lucky or what?

Catching up on my Reading List

I receive so many great book recommendations that I had to create an ever expanding reading list. Spending more time at home has provided me with the time to start catching up on long overdue books to read. I am currently re-reading The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This work has been republished a few different times, this one is the military edition which helps focus on unique challenges that service members and our families face. I highly recommend it for those who are scheduled to deploy. Next up is The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This has been recommended multiple times and based on that I have also recommended it, now it is time to read it for myself. That will be followed by a four book leadership series by Frank McKinley. I would love hear from you what should be added to a reading list.

I know that many of you and your families face different challenges than I do right now. Some of these include working from home, homeschooling children or even just trying to entertain children constantly. Below are a few links to ideas to help with these challenges, many include free opportunities provided during this battle against COVID-19. I hope they are helpful for you and your family.

I cannot thank each of you and your families enough for what you do for your home front, our Wing and this great nation. I know times are difficult right now and I appreciate your flexibility as we work through this ever changing environment. We will continue to do whatever it takes to care for you and your families so that we can preserve combat capability. Fight’s on!

Links found (work best on home network) to help our families combat boredom and help remain holistically healthy.


Mental Health:


Reading & Streaming:

Other fun things for family: