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NEWS | May 11, 2023

Observer controller/trainers provide valuable feedback, oversight to medics

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Hernandez Army Reserve Medical Command

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7231st Medical Support Unit and 7416th Troop Medical Clinic out of Lubbock, Texas, went to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Indiana, to set up TMCs in both locations for units participating in Guardian Response 23, April 13-28, 2023.

To augment their efforts, three observer controller/trainers (OC/Ts) from the 7301st Medical Training Support Battalion, Medical Readiness Training Command, travelled to Indiana to evaluate and mentor Soldiers of the aforementioned units.

"Our goal is to work with the 7416th TMC and the 7231st MSU," said U.S. Army Reserve Master Sgt. David Shenk, a combat medic and an OC/T with the 7301st MTSB. "We're providing guidance to them, because not every unit has this opportunity every year. We are going to enhance their training experience, their learning experience, and have them understand how we as OC/Ts have a process that we go through to better help them."

MRTC OC/Ts are specifically tailored for Army medical entities operating as enabler units for real-world medical services and support.

"Their focus is the real-world mission; the bumps, bruises, respiratory issues, splinters and whatever else comes their way," Shenk said. "We've seen them refine their processes a couple of times, and they've been streamlining it. "

U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Marcus Pierre, Commander of the 7231st MSU, requested OC/Ts from MRTC to improve their functionality during their rotation at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and MUTC.

"We have requested that the OC/Ts grade us," said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Luis Holguin, a dental specialist with the 7231st MSU and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Camp Atterbury TMC. "We think that it is an excellent tool to ensure that we are on this correct path for mission success. So having another entity here to grade us is immensely helpful, because it is something that they can articulate and provide us with statistics and metrics."

Ever since their arrival in Indiana, the OC/T presence and their engagement with the medical units have been conducive to unit success.

"It's been a few years since this unit has been graded," Holguin said. "I have nothing but positive feedback for them because everything is a learning opportunity, and we are all looking to improve our skill sets as well as this unit itself."

Furthermore, the overall experience has benefited Holguin's professional development.

"As a young leader, it is going to provide me with that knowledge and skill set to further enhance what I need to do and take this training and knowledge that I'm getting here and apply it to my lower enlisted Soldiers," said Holguin. "So now that I have the insider perspective, I can apply that toward the next part of my career."

Last but not least, the OC/Ts gained new insights in their coordination with the 7231st MSU and the 7416th TMC.

"I'm just fortunate to have this opportunity to be an OC/T, as this is my first time," said Shenk. "It is great because I get to do both rotations of it. My second one will be with an RTU (Rotational Training Unit), so this is a good warm-up for me to do that and I feel lucky to be here."

The 7231st MSU and 7416th TMC plan to maintain their TMC operations until April 28, 2023. In the meantime, GR 23 will continue to run training events for all participating RTUs until May 11, 2023.