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NEWS | July 19, 2017

PROFIS mission provides needed medical support at home and abroad

By Lt. Col. Angela Wallace Army Reserve Medical Command

On a humid California summer evening, nearly 100 Soldiers assigned to Army Reserve Medical Command’s 7452nd Medical Backfill Battalion sat side by side in their Army Reserve facility awaiting the legal and administrative briefings required to prepare them for upcoming missions. Like many other Army Reserve units put on alert for a future mobilization, the personnel assigned to the 7452nd MBB are completing the second of several levels of Soldier Readiness Processing which ensures they are medically and administratively prepared to go when and where they are needed.

This is where the similarities end between 7452nd MBB and most other units. These Soldiers are assigned to a special mission that ARMEDCOM supports, called the Professional Filler System, or PROFIS, mission. Functionally aligned to U.S. Army Medical Command, ARMEDCOM is uniquely capable of simultaneously providing military hospital and clinic expansion, augmentation, blood donor services, as well as dental and veterinary services. The MBB Soldiers placed on alert each rotation are selected to support these different missions based on MEDCOM’s identified needs.

Maj. Ausha Partido, the mobilization officer assigned to Western Medical Area Readiness Support Group, explains how this mission differs from others.

“Some of these Soldiers have been on PROFIS missions before, so they understand how this mission works. Some have not, but are eager to go and they start making those adjustments in their family life. PROFIS missions are unique. They have different start dates. These are individual missions. Some missions are over 120 days and they can go all the way up to 365 days, and their assignments can be in medical facilities here in the continental United States, Germany or Hawaii,” said Partido.

Although 100 personnel within the MBB have been alerted, not everyone will be selected to receive mobilization orders, and that unknown factor is one of the more difficult aspects of this mission.

Capt. Leo Frutiz, a perioperative nurse assigned to the 7452nd MBB has been alerted for his second PROFIS mission and shared how he and his family have prepared.

“I was given about four months notice when I was selected for my last PROFIS mission, and this time it should be similar. We’re all going to different places. It’s not like other Soldiers who deploy as a unit. Last time I got lucky and four of us from my unit got to go to support the same hospital. We were in different sections working, but at least we were all in the same place,” said Frutiz.

For the first PROFIS mission, Frutiz was given a short-notice change of mission location from Hawaii to Fort Bragg, North Carolina which ended up working out for Frutiz and his wife, who was pregnant at the time with their first child.
“I learned so much from the first mission, but one of the experiences I will never forget was when I requested a week of leave so I could get back to California to be there for my wife’s delivery. She ended up delivering a week early. She called me on a Friday morning while I was at work at the hospital. I told her I was on call and wouldn’t be able to make it, but I was able to get permission to go and surprise her.

“When I was on the plane, a very friendly woman next to me discovered what I was doing and told the flight stewardess, and the stewardess told the captain of the plane. We landed in San Diego an hour ahead of schedule, and they had everyone stay in their seats so I could get out first so I could make it in time to be with my wife. I went in to the delivery room and our family was crying and clapping, because no one expected me to show up. Within the hour, my wife delivered. I made it and got to be there,” said Frutiz.

Preparing the Family isn’t the only thing Soldiers must consider. They also need to have open communication with their employers.

“I’ve tried to tell my employer as much information as I can, as I receive it so they’re informed. They’ve been very supportive, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve had the same job for over 17 years,” Kubitz said.

Partido agreed with the need for additional preparation for a PROFIS mission.

“Soldiers need to have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A is the plan when everything goes the way you anticipate it – what happens with family life and civilian life. If they don’t end up getting selected for this mission, then Plan B is what happens. Expect the unexpected and have contingency plans. Soldiers shouldn’t make changes right away while they are on alert. They should begin making the bigger changes once they get their mobilization order,” said Partido.

Partido also emphasized the necessity of having orders in hand before getting out of leases, moving Families or any other significant changes.

“I had a Soldier contact me who was driving on his way to his mission, and he told me he’d been checking his email every day. I knew his name in my head because I had been tracking his orders – I hadn’t received them yet. His report date had changed and he didn’t get that information because he was only monitoring his civilian email account. Soldiers need to be monitoring their military email accounts,” Partido emphasized.

“I encourage Soldiers to stay in touch with their point of contact at the unit, and ensure they are communicating life events so that the unit can try to work with Soldiers to take those life events into consideration as they’re prioritizing those missions for fill. Communication is key,” concluded Partido.