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NEWS | May 30, 2024

Army medical leaders convene at Fort McCoy for 68Z summit

By Christopher Jones Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

Chief medical noncommissioned officers, whose military occupational specialty is 68Z where they specialize in healthcare, came from across the United States to gather at Fort McCoy for the two-day 68Z Active Guard Reserve Forum from May 7-8.

The summit, aimed at enhancing collaboration and discussing future initiatives for the combat medic specialist (68W) community within the Army Medical Department, drew attendees from various installations nationwide.

Formed by a coalition of distinguished command sergeants major and sergeants major, the 68Z Summit provided a platform for 68Zs to engage in vital discussions on pertinent issues facing the 68 Career Management Field (CMF) community, officials said.

Some of the attendees included Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Calarco, Fort McCoy Garrison command sergeant major and 68Z from Fort McCoy; Sgt. Maj. Rachel Kaye with the Office of the Surgeon General in Falls Church, Va.; and Sgt. Maj. Adalgisa Fernandez, who is slated to become the incoming U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence sergeant major at Camp Parks, Calif.

“This summit offered an invaluable opportunity for 68Zs to exchange insights and explore strategies for addressing challenges within the 68 CMF community,” said Sgt. Maj. Tinamarie Reese, who attended as the U.S. Army Reserve Surgeon sergeant major.

Fort McCoy was chosen as the venue for this year’s summit due to its strategic significance. According to organizers, the location provided a unique opportunity to engage with Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) candidates, promote the Best Medic Competition, and tour Fort McCoy’s Regional Training Site-Medical and Medical Simulation Training Center facilities.

The agenda for the 68Z Summit was comprehensive, featuring discussions on current initiatives from the Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, and the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, as well as field concerns, ideas, and recommendations. Additionally, activities covering 68W career management field mentorship and EFMB training were conducted, providing attendees with a holistic view of developments within the 68W community.

A key highlight of the event was a tour of Fort McCoy's historical Commemorative Area, which received positive feedback from attendees.

“Many of the SGMs expressed surprise at the existence of this area and intend to include it in their agendas for future visits,” said Reese.

Reflecting on the summit’s outcomes, participants emphasized the importance of face-to-face interaction in fostering collaboration and driving progress within the Army’s medical community.

“It was an amazing couple of days, and I look forward to our future opportunities to get together,” said Kaye.

“It was great to do this in person away from each of our flag poles to better collaborate and have effective communication on important topics,” Reese said.

The 68Z Summit at Fort McCoy underscored the commitment of Army medical leaders to promoting excellence and innovation in military healthcare, setting the stage for continued advancements in the field, Calarco said.

Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.

The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”

Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base. Fort McCoy is also part of Army’s Installation Management Command where “We Are The Army’s Home.”