307th Medical Brigade tests RFX skills at CSTX

By Capt. Sarah Knowlton | 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support) | April 11, 2018

FORT McCOY, Wis. — The sounds of wind rattling tents inside Tactical Assembly Area Freedom and small arms fire is heard as Soldiers dart for safety behind cement barriers. As the sound of yelling dies in the distance, some of the Soldiers engage in low small talk. Others smile sheepishly in their full combat gear as they hunker down to wait for an all clear. This is just one of many simulated attacks which happen annually at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, during combat support training exercises (CSTX).

For the Soldiers of the 307th Medical Brigade and their units designated as ‘RFX units’ or Ready Force X, there is shift in focus from being a medical professional first, to being a Soldier first. CSTX 78-18-03 was designed to train up RFX units. Prior to the simulation mentioned above, Soldiers talked about how this exercise is different and why it is important.

“We were here two years ago and focused on TOC (Tactical Operations Center) OPS and a lot of MOS (military occupational skills) training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Churchill, an operations concept team trainer from the 429th Multi-functional Medical Battalion. “This year we are focusing more on basic Soldier skill level-one tasks.”

Churchill along with 1LT Chelsie Lee, also from the 429th MMB, ran some of the lanes, which for six days Soldiers conducted individual training, learned land navigation, combat life saver skills, communication on the radio, infantry tasks and responded to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear scenarios.

“(Today) is the collective gathering of everything that they learned on those individual tasks and applying it into the platoon sized element for battle drills,” said Lee as Soldiers prepared to march in full gear down the trail where they would eventually respond to a simulation of indirect fire.

From inside TAA Freedom, a 256th MMB operations officer, Capt. Joe Ford, expressed that essentially the military is going back to Cold War era training to utilize the reserve in a quick response readiness way, by beefing up our military and giving it the resources needed, and be able to get them quickly where we need them.

The Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, LTG Charles D. Luckey’s vision is to supply combat ready Soldiers that are the most trained, equipped and lethal to win our Nation’s wars.

These medical units in the 807th Medical Command hierarchy trained alongside Soldiers from Army Reserve Medical Command and 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support) in the field lanes. Other training done in cantonment included the hospital exercise (HOSPEX), table top drills portraying medical simulations. At the Regional Training Site-Medical facilities, medical logisticians and repair personnel did real world repairs and supply functions while across the street mannequins were prepped to simulate patients with life-like wounds.

These military and medical response simulations are crucial to preparing the Ready Force X units for future missions. All indicators show that the world is more volatile and the enemies of this nation are more prepared and better matched to meet us in conflict. This training helps the Soldiers respond with established muscle memory to complete the mission whether it is defeating combatants or saving patients in need.