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NEWS | Oct. 7, 2015

Florida Army medical reserve unit fits the right pieces together for peacekeeping support

By Sgt. Erick Yates 200th Military Police Command

HOHENFELS, Germany - Since crossing the Atlantic to arrive at the Joint Multinational Readiness Medical Center here, an Army Reserve medical unit is raising it’s level of readiness and lending its talents to support an Armored Brigade Combat Team for a security and peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

The 345th Combat Support Hospital from Jacksonville, Florida is using all available training resources to provide the best support hospital for an upcoming mission to support the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, from Clinton, North Carolina.

“The biggest part for me is to help everyone come together as a team,” said Col. Vincent Valinotti, commander of the 345th CSH, also called Task Force Medical.

The training to help prepare the 345th for the Kosovo mission began at Fort Hood, Texas. There they conducted mass casualty exercises and practiced running a hospital. Now at the JMRC, the preparation process has been geared toward running routine medical services like sick call and responding to on site emergencies, active shooter incidents and more mass casualty scenarios.

Experiencing this type of readiness training has developed the 345th medical team, Valinotti said.

The exercises played a key part in pulling out the right pieces for the Task Force Medical staff to come together.

The training was fast paced at Fort Hood, said Staff Sgt. Christopher Lance, the team leader in charge of training for the 345th.

Once we arrived to the JMRC, there was regular medical training coupled with seeing real patients, he said.

While deployed Lance will be putting classes in place to ensure the medics with the 345th keep up with educational requirements needed to maintain the medic license, he said.

In keeping in line with JMRC’s mission to build a multinational partnership for peacekeeping, the 345th had a team of six medics teach a class on helicopter assisted medical evacuation to troops from the Romanian army’s 26th Mountain Battalion.

“The Romanian’s were very receptive to working with us,” said
Spc. Robert MacDonald, a licensed practical nurse with the unit. “It was great for us to be able to get out there and be the instructors for this type of training,” he said.

Working with other countries in this capacity is a once in a lifetime opportunity that may never happen again, said Spc. Aaron Smith, a licensed practical nurse with the unit as well.

While keeping focused on the mission going forward, the 345th realizes how important the preparation process is for the peacekeeping mission and do not take it lightly. Each Soldier understands what their individual role is in providing a service, to the extent of understanding the overall picture of supporting the Soldiers from 30th ABCT.

The training here has been pretty intense, and we have been pushed to our limits to see what we are made of as a team, said Spc. Brittany Hall, a patient administrator for the 345th.

Our unit was pretty good at making sure we were prepared by getting most of the required training completed before we started the actual mobilization, said Spc. Travanda Burton, the information technology specialist for the unit.

Both Burton and Hall look forward to the chance to continue to grow in their respective roles while deployed in order to give the best support to their team, they said.

This is a big opportunity for the 345th to not only run the combat support hospital, but also to work side by side with a National Guard unit. This will be a wonderful experience for both sides of the Reserve and Guard components to work together on this peacekeeping mission.