JOLON, Calif. –
Lessons learned on the battlefield offer first line and senior leaders the information necessary to develop and adjust tactics, techniques and procedures to assure combat ready units and medical personnel are prepared to support the total force on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.
The Army Reserve’s Medical Readiness Training Command plays an important role in collecting that data. The command executes joint force capstone medical sustainment exercises know as Global Medic, offering medical units from across the services and globe, a simulated combat deployment.
While the exercise’s observer coach / trainers, and Hollywood standard moulage and simulated casualties created by the effects and enabler teams tend to garner the lions-share of attention and praise from the training audience, behind the scenes there is a team collecting important data.
The exercise’s Analyst Team has the critical role of assuring the exercise lessons learned translate to future readiness.
“Long before an exercise like Global Medic happens, commanders from the training audience choose mission essential tasks or training objectives. These tasks are what MRTC uses to build the exercise,” said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Knowles, an Army Reserve the noncommissioned officer in charge of the analyst team for the 2nd Medical Training Brigade of MRTC for Global Medic 91-21-01 in June of 2021.
According to Knowles, an Army Reserve combat medic who works as a clinical research coordinator in Salt Lake City, Utah in her civilian capacity, once the training objectives are determined the Global Medic teams build “injects” or scenarios that that training audience Soldiers will be challenged with during the event. OC/T teams observe the training units to determine if they following the unit’s standard operating procedures, and understand and execute the unit’s mission essential tasks lists.
The effects and enabler teams create the training aids, the observer coach/trainers observe the tasks, but it’s the analyst teams that is responsible for curating the data that is assembled into a lessons learned package that training units bring back from the exercise, to focus their training at their home station.
“Commanders can go back to these observations or readiness assessments after the exercise and look for best practices and lessons learned,” said Knowles. “We highlight spectacular standard operating procedures from one unit to other units so they’re able to see not only how their unit performed but also how other units of the same type are performing. That way we can share our best practices and lessons learned.”
Maj. Melanie Williams, an Army Reserve medical surgical nurse that is employed as a hospice nurse in Loxley, Alabama in her civilian career, leads the analyst team. The group is responsible for the quality control of the data entered into the Joint Lessons Learned Information System. JLLIS keeps track of all exercise data to guide training and readiness decisions.
“When we bring units out to exercise, we see what personnel they are missing or what equipment they are short. By tracking this in JLLIS, we can see trends, and highlight them so they can be addressed. In time this can affect doctrine and material management for the Army and Army Reserve units that are preparing to deploy in a medical capacity,” said Williams.
The end result, which Knowles and Williams are both working toward, is ensuring there is useful, actionable data entered into JLLIS. Data that others can use to improve training, streamline operations, and ultimately ensure Soldier effectiveness and survivability on the battlefields of tomorrow.