Reserve Soldiers Respond To Nation's Needs

By Spc. Claudia Rocha | 345th Public Affairs Detachment | July 25, 2017

POPLAR, Mont. — U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to Army Reserve Medical Command’s 7239th Medical Support Unit partnered with Fort Peck Indian Health Service to provide medical and dental care services from July 15-29 at the on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana. More than 30 Army Reserve Soldiers are supporting two clinics at Fort Peck, Chief Redstone Health Clinic in Wolf Point and Verne E. Gibbs Clinic in Poplar.

The collaboration between the Army Reserve and IHS is part of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training, a training opportunity that ensures Reserve Soldiers maintain their combat readiness while addressing the needs within local communities.

The Soldiers participating in IRT are trained and certified medical professionals with jobs ranging from doctors and dentists to pharmacists and lab technicians. Lt. Col. William B. Walker, the unit’s commander, emphasized the importance of frequent training for these military occupational specialties. “The Army needs these skills that are highly perishable and require a lot of training and upkeep,” said Walker.

While the Fort Peck IRT mission provides Army Reserve Soldiers with an essential real-world training environment, the mission is twofold. The operation also supports communities that benefit from additional medical staff to meet the residents’ needs. Requested by Fort Peck Indian Health Services, the IRT mission prepares Army Reserve Soldiers and units to respond whenever the nation calls.

Albert Foote Sr., a community elder, attests to the mission’s positive impact on Poplar residents. “Our community members have already noticed that you all are very present at the Indian Health Service,” said Foote. “They come out smiling. It’s good to see them here!’”

Foote said the cooperation of the Army Reserve and IHS aligns with their community value of sharing. “I feel like this is a good collaborative effort for you all to come out here and get that bonding,” said Foote. “And were able to strengthen the knowledge that you have and the knowledge that we have together.”

Soldiers will continue to work with IHS through July 29th, utilizing the training opportunity to build a beneficial civil-military partnership between the local community and the Department of Defense.

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