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NEWS | July 31, 2017

Joint training exercise ensures combat readiness for military medics

By Lt. Col. Angela Wallace Army Reserve Medical Command

During a visit to one of 84th Training Command's exercises in March of this year, Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, Commanding General for U.S. Army Reserve Command, met with Army Reserve Soldiers out at several tactical assembly areas to witness the depth of the training that 84th Training Command exercises provide. While there, he spoke with his Soldiers about the importance of leveraging these training opportunities.

“Where we're going is not where we've been,” Luckey told Soldiers from several different units, emphasizing the need for training and adaptability, urging Soldiers to pay close attention to the evolving nature of threats and the flexibility needed to prepare for global challenges.

In line with Luckey’s guidance, this type of environment is what Army Reserve Medical Command’s Medical Readiness and Training Command is focused on creating during the planning, synchronization and execution phases of the U.S. Army Reserve’s only Joint National Training Capability accredited exercise, Global Medic.

The realistic scenarios and austere environment are what compelled Col. Robert Howe, commander of the 47th Combat Support Hospital, to participate in Global Medic for the second year in a row.

“I really wanted to focus on establishing our hospital, focusing on mission command to subordinate units, integrating with our joint and coalition partners and having that opportunity to establish our area in a very austere environment similar to what we might experience on the battlefield. We have that opportunity here to have MRTC’s OCT’s provide us their expertise, their feedback on how we perform as a staff from the clinical perspective as well as the operational perspective. That’s really where our money will be made,” said Howe.

The 47th CSH, an active duty unit out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington is one of the two largest training audiences for this year’s medical exercise on the west coast.

“This is a terrific opportunity from a medical perspective because the training at the other Combat Training Centers don’t give us the full work up and experiences. That’s why we fought to be here with Global Medic for 2017 after our experience last year at Fort McCoy,” Howe said.

ARMEDCOM’s Global Medic, led by MRTC, is part of the 84th Training Command’s Combat Support Training Exercise 91-17-03, hosting two combat support hospitals, a multifunctional medical battalion, an expeditionary medical facility and many smaller medical contingents that converge on locations at Fort Hunter Liggett, Camp Roberts and Camp Parks in California to take on the realistic, harsh environment while focusing on individual and team medical practices.

Col. Noel Pace, commander for 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support)’s 345th Combat Support Hospital, the other large training audience participating in Global Medic, is focused on similar training goals as their unit prepares for future deployments.

“The best case scenario when this is done is that we’re ready for deployment… We’re taking everything really seriously. Our physicians will be coming out and they’ve been taking this very seriously. It’s a team of teams and the focus is on the patient,” said Pace.

But being a medical professional in a combat support hospital looks very different from that of their civilian counterparts.

“The difference between us, and a civilian hospital is that we have to build our hospital before we run it.

“This is day one of the hospital build, and what we’ve done is we’ve involved all the Soldiers, all the providers, all ranks as part of a team of teams to build this hospital. There should be no difference between our hospital here on the battlefield that’s made of tents and containers versus a community hospital in the civilian sector. We’ll eventually be a full-up trauma center with surgical capability,” concluded Pace.

Global Medic’s unique training opportunity allows U.S. Army Reserve medical units to train alongside their multi-component and joint partners as part of the America’s Army Reserve evolution into the most lethal Federal Reserve force in the history of the nation. The training audience for this year’s Global Medic exercise totaled more than 1,100 service members, ensuring individuals, teams and units are better prepared to provide medical care when they are called to deploy.

“I consider it my highest honor to provide life-saving care to our warfighter. There is no more noble mission than that. Just to be a part of that is something very special for all of us,” concluded Howe.