Reserve Soldiers Provide Medical Support for Thousands
Story and photos by: Spc. James Bradford, public affairs specialist 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Fort Knox, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — Soldiers of the Army Reserve Medical Command are providing medical support to thousands of cadets and cadre, here, at the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet Summer Training.
ARMEDCOM Soldiers are running the Nelson Troop Medical Clinic and Soldier Readiness Processing station, which are the primary medical locations for all CST participants.
“The bulk of the mission will rely on Army Reserve medical soldiers,” said Maj. Ricardo Leon, commissioned officer in charge of ARMEDCOM.
“The Army Reserve Medical Component is the largest medical component there is in the Army, both for active duty and Reserve. So, the Army Reserve medical forces are critical to the execution of any medical mission in the U.S. or abroad,” Leon added.
Every cadet participating in Cadet Initial Entry Training will begin their time here by medically processing into the Army.
“Cadets from nearly 280 schools are here for Cadet Summer Training, and we are in charge of medically processing all of them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Wong, noncomissioned officer in charge at the Soldier Readiness Processing site here.
The SRP will offer cadets blood labs, immunizations, urine analysis and physical check-ups with a licensed provider.
“Soldiers in today’s Army need to always be ready to fight their battles,” said Wong. “The SRP is how we do our part getting them ready.”
Leon explained there are 63 soldiers working to support the SRP site, including Army medics, lab techs, physical therapy administrators, nurses, physicians, and physicians assistants who will see each cadet individually for evaluation.
At the Nelson TMC there is a crew of 36 soldiers, which encompasses medical doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, as well as physician assistants and physical therapists, Leon added.
“We at the TMC serve as primary and acute care for the cadets and the cadre of the Cadet Summer Training Program,” said Capt. Joseph Gomez, officer in charge of the Nelson Troop Medical Clinic.“Without the TMC you’d have an overwhelmed hospital, and a lot of cadets that wouldn’t get treated.”
Last year there were approximately 4,000 visits to sick call throughout the CST in which ARMEDCOM soldiers participated actively, said Leon.
“We are the backbone for medical care,” said Gomez. “All the sick and injured cadets will make their way through here, and we will take care of them.”
Gomez said their focus is on ensuring the cadets and cadre associated with the CST get back to good health.
Soldiers from ARMEDCOM are working here on their annual training cycles. The soldiers at the Nelson TMC are on a 19-day rotation and soldiers working at the SRP site are on a 26-day rotation, with four rotations for each program.
“Army Reserve Soldiers are unique in their role,” said Leon. “We are said to be twice the citizen, that we serve two sides; our civilian jobs and the Army.”
“For these soldiers to give up 19 or 26 days is not simple,” Leon added. “These people go through a lot of struggles both at home and here to get all that is required for them to do the mission.”
In regards to the SRP, the team sees about 300 soldiers every day that will go through full medical exams including flight physicals and especially consults, said Leon.
Last year the team performed approximately 4,500 of those exams and this year they are expecting even more due to the increase of cadets.
“We’re expecting to be working between 12 and 16 hours per day to accomplish this task,” said Wong.
“I have to thank all of my soldiers,” said Wong. “The Army always says things work from top to bottom, but I feel it’s more from the bottom up because without them we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this mission.”
This is a collaborative effort with support being pulled from all over to include Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Colorado and many other areas, said Gomez.
Due to the amount of cadets coming through the Cadet Summer Training, active duty soldiers have been brought in to assist with the operation.
“The reservists never forget what their mission is; they are well trained and focused and it shows,” said Leon. “It shows that side-by-side to our active duty counterparts there is no difference in quality of service and quality of medical support.”
“We welcome the opportunity to work with our active duty counterparts on this mission,” Leon added. “We look forward to many more missions like this one where we can strengthen the ties and work together.”