FORT CAVAZOS, Texas –
Beginning in October 2022, more than 30 U.S. Army Reserve medical Soldiers of the 7400th Troop Medical Clinic, Red Rock, Arizona, have been mobilized to Fort Cavazos, Texas, to provide medical coverage for U.S. Army National Guard and USAR Soldiers in their own mobilization and demobilization cycles. The Soldiers have been on a rotational basis between the Deployment Readiness Center on main cantonment and Troop Medical Clinic 14 at North Fort Cavazos with the latter offering an opportunity for the team to offer more intensive care and treatment for pre-mobilization and post-mobilization service members.
The 7400th TMC's mission is an integral component of Army Reserve Medical Command's role in providing medical services and support for Fort Cavazos, one of the premier Mobilization Force Generation Installations in the Continental United States. The number of service members that the unit covers can fluctuate greatly, varying approximately from 200 to over 1,200 personnel at any given time.
"[North Fort Cavazos] is reserved primarily for Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, where they receive all of their medical care while they are here," said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Shelby Van Damme, a combat medic assigned to the 7400th TMC. "If they have appointments that they need like cardiology referrals, interventions such as birth control, stitches and anything like that, we are the ones who provide it. We also provide support to mobilization command if they are doing events like the Army Ten Miler.
"The max patients we can see for appointments is 20, but we have anywhere from five to 10 appointments a day," Van Damme said.
The unit's role in manning TMC 14 is not only for providing on-site medical coverage for service members, but to also document ailments and injuries incurred during pre- or post-mobilization.
"All of these charts go into their permanent records, so if they want to make a claim or anything like that, we want to make sure that they are taken care of and they are charted properly," said Van Damme.
For Van Damme and several other Soldiers in the unit, this CONUS mobilization is a first-time experience in an active-duty operational environment.
"I've never been in an Army clinic for this long a period of time; the most before this was two weeks," said Van Damme. "So learning day-to-day operations, learning how to be a good section leader, and then helping the junior enlisted Soldiers has been a great challenge. It's also been fascinating to learn from the providers because we don't work with Army providers on the civilian side, and they have a very different perspective on medical care and how to best treat Soldiers."
According to U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Ilse Esquer, a medical laboratory technician assigned to the 7400th TMC, this mobilization has expanded her knowledge base and skill sets.
"They gave me a lot of different positions here, and I go over other stuff around the clinic that I didn't know how to do before," said Esquer. "Now, I have all of the knowledge with me, and I also I have more field care experience."
Furthermore, Esquer said that the mobilization has given her the opportunity to strengthen her professional development in events such as Joint Emergency Medicine Exercise 2023 (JEMX) here earlier this month. JEMX is an annual training exercise that hosts participants from both American and multinational military forces, honing their skills in both practical and tactical medical applications.
"The JMEX was an awesome experience seeing everything that I do on a daily basis here," Esquer said. "It's hands-on experience; I've learned from other people as well. I learned how to apply different knowledge, as I wasn't aware of medication and all that is involved with Combat Lifesaver Course and Tactical Combat Casualty Care.
I got all of this experience now and I can now explain the reasons why we use different types of medication," said Esquer.
The 7400th TMC will maintain operational status in both the DRC and TMC 14 here until October 2023.
"Most of the unit has not mobilized to a location like this before, so just being able to bring back my experience and help bring them up to date on MHS (Military Health System) Genesis, charting, in-clinic procedures and how to work with the providers is going to be really valuable for my unit," said Van Damme.