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NEWS | July 24, 2018

3rd Medical Command flexes forward for Mission Command excellence

By Staff Sgt. DALTON Smith Exercise News Day

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) have been on ground at Joint Base San Antonio for two weeks, preparing to provide medical support to combat arms units as part of the Global Medic 2018 Combat Support Training Exercise.

The 3rd MCDS operational command post is acting as the Combined Joint Task Force-Medical in the CSTX, a mission it has executed in previous year’s training exercises and in overseas deployments.

"Each annual exercise builds upon the previous year's readiness,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Sauter, deputy commanding general of the 3rd MCDS. “We have gone from crawl to walk to run, building confidence and the overall team."

Sauter led a similar mission in theater while deployed in 2016. For this year’s CSTX, the 3rd MCDS occupies half of the Mission Training Center at Joint Base San Antonio and acts as a senior deployable medical headquarters. The MTC directly simulates actual command environments in theater, said Sauter.

Presently, the 3rd MCDS has command and control of over 700 Soldiers participating in the CSTX. Subordinate units such as the 8th and 338th Medical Brigades simultaneously occupy training sites as far as Fort Hunter Liggett, Camp Parks, California, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to develop strategic, operational, and joint medical and tactical skills, according to Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, a 3rd MCDS public affairs officer.

A diverse health professions career field fills the 3rd MCDS’s ranks, including physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and dieticians. These Soldiers actively practice mission essential tasks on the civilian side, according to Lt. Col. Laura Porter, Chief Nurse of clinical operations for the CJTF-Med.

"We have the same priorities and identical issues in the civilian world. There is the shared goal of bringing resources together to ensure the best outcomes possible," said Porter, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. Porter has served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps for over 21 years and works on the civilian side as an emergency room and cardiac surgery nurse practitioner for the University of North Carolina Rex Healthcare.

However, this is the first CSTX for many of the 3rd MCDS’s junior Soldiers.

“We expect our junior enlisted and officers to learn leadership skills while working within and across different command staff sections,” said Col. June McGhee, acting chief of staff for the CJTF-Med and native of Nashville, Tennessee.

“Soldiers learn a whole new mission,” said Lt. Col. Tim Doherty, the officer in charge of civil affairs operations for the CJTF-Med. “Not many junior soldiers have strategic level experience. They mainly have operational or tactical experience at company or battalion size units.”

The CSTX brings together Soldiers who normally do not work together into the same field environment. It teaches duties and tasks encountered during deployments that are not capable of being replicated during battle assembly weekends, said Doherty, a native of Dunwoody, Georgia.

The 3rd MCDS is based out of Fort Gillem, Georgia, and regularly rotates detachments for deployment to U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Army Central areas of operation. Over 7,500 Soldiers and civilians located across 21 states and Puerto Rico fall under the 3rd MCDS.

For this year’s CSTX, an advanced party arrived at Joint Base San Antonio on July 1 to set up all necessary assets for operations. The main body arrived on July 7 and will train here until July 27. There will be an emphasis on operating in a joint environment to prepare for overseas missions with other branches of the U.S. military and foreign militaries.

"This training exercise directly contributes to our ability to execute our mission in theater,” said Sauter.