News: Medical battalion ready for nation’s call
Story by Sgt. Ruth Harvie
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. ⎯ It’s only the first few days of a three-week training exercise and Army Reserve soldiers with the 145th Multi-functional Medical Battalion are already successfully moving patients from combat support hospitals into Black Hawk helicopters.
The helicopters arrive at Camp 8J on Tuesday with Brig. Gen. James Cook of the 91st Training Division and Maj. Gen. David Puster of the 84th Training Command. As the commanders visit the site, soldiers of the 145th MMB, of Garden Grove, Calif., work with the flight crew in patient loading and unloading training.
Four combat medics and one mechanic worked as a team in transporting a casualty into the Black Hawk. “It’s pretty exciting and it’s important information to have,” said Spc. Juan Martinez a combat medic with the 437th Ground Ambulance, of Moreno Valley, Calif.
“I’m very proud of the 145th MMB,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Ramirez, 145th MMB. “They’re taking their time away from their families [to come out here and do this training],” he said. Approximately 3900 warriors will participate in the 21-day exercise. This is just one of the many missions that the soldiers will undergo, and this kind of training is vital for Army Reserve success, said Puster.
The Army Reserve was born a strategic reserve. Now, reserve soldiers are an operational force that have become integrated with the active component. “There’s still conflict in the world. It’s very important that we help security cooperation in the different regions to help [fight] terrorism, crime, and other security problems,” said Puster.
“The more we can prevent or shape the battlefield, the less often we will have to go in and actually fight in a large-scale land operation, as we’ve seen over the last ten years,” said Puster.
The soldiers of the 145th MMB and 7/158th Aviation, out of Fort Carson, Colo., are being tested on their abilities to provide medical-air support in the field.
“We are focusing on mission command of subordinate medical units,” said Ramirez. “We are learning how to prevent and control mission taskers in the mission play.”
A flight crew member waves the 145th MMB soldiers to bring a casualty forward. Martinez and his team follow the cue and urgently carry a patient on a litter through a storm of dust caused by the helicopter’s propellers. In less than a minute, the battalion’s soldiers have the patient inside, ready for takeoff.