KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany –
Medical readiness is essential to Army Reserve units’ ability to deploy and conduct their missions.
“Readiness is the number one priority of the Army today, and medical readiness is the biggest feeder for overall readiness,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Brown, the senior enlisted leader of the Army Reserve’s 7th Mission Support Command.
The Periodic Health Assessment and its annual medical and dental examination are the keys, he said.
Each individual is responsible for medical readiness, and it’s the first line leader’s job to ensure their Soldiers accomplish it, he added.
“I look at it as preventative maintenance checks and services,” Brown said. “You’d never take a vehicle into combat if you haven’t done a preventative maintenance check on it. You want to have the ability to be successful in combat, and that’s just a basic medical check.”
The primary method for the Army Reserve Soldiers to stay ready is to make individual appointments, as needed, with a military health care provider between battle assemblies, he said.
Soldiers receive a four-hour block of pay for each appointment they attend, to compensate for the appointment, travel time and time away from work.
However, in some cases, the 7th MSC works with one of its subordinate units to put together a medical readiness event to support annual PHAs.
The Medical Support Unit – Europe has hosted medical readiness events this year at the Army Wellness Center Bavaria in Vilseck and the Kleber Clinic in Kaiserslautern during battle assembly weekends, said Maj. Jonathan Etienne, the 7th MSC Office of the Surgeon operations officer.
Using the active component facilities allows the Army Reserve health care providers from the MSU-E to put together a full range of health care efforts.
“All echelons are focused on readiness to make sure that our Soldiers are ready to deploy and fight and win our wars,” said Maj. James Wilson, the medical readiness coordinator for the MSU-E. “If they’re not medically or dentally ready, they’re not ready.”
The large events give the MSU-E a chance to train together, he said. Many of the unit members work daily in civilian health care capacities, but many do not.
“It’s an opportunity to keep our skills fresh,” Wilson said.
For Sgt. James Smith, with the 7th MSC’s 1177th Movement Control Team, the MSU-E PHA process only took about an hour, after which he went back to his unit for the rest of the battle assembly.
“I got immunizations, vision test, hearing test and I got to see a provider, just basic medical stuff,” he said.