News: Field sanitation team helps ensure Soldier readiness
Story by Staff Sgt. Brent Powell
By Staff Sgt. Brent C. Powell
210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Soldiers need several things to be successful on the battlefield. They need the right training, the right equipment and they have to stay healthy.
Fortunately, a tiny detachment of highly-motivated, specialized Soldiers are conducting training here to ensure those on the front lines are healthy, allowing them to use the right equipment and receive the right training.
The team consists of four preventative medicine specialists from the 1437th Preventative Medical Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade, who are conducting a three-day field sanitation class here during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX). The exercise is a large scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Reserve and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers and more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.
“We were conducting site visits to the Forward Operating Bases and soon realized none of them had a designated field sanitation team,” said Spc. Mark Miller, preventative medical specialist and native of Middleburg, Fla., assigned to the 1437th Preventative Medicine Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade. “We decided that we really needed to put together a class to certify field sanitation teams in order to help units prepare, not only for this exercise, but for future exercises as well.”
After putting together classroom materials and designing a course curriculum, the team began soliciting for students. A few days later the doors to the classroom opened and the course began.
“The course is designed to be a forty-hour course, but due to time restraints we had to shorten it,” said Miller. “We decided to put all of the course material and power point presentations in the beginning of the course to keep the students engaged in the class.
On the second day we wrapped up the last bit of the curriculum, and then moved into a hands-on phase where students get to see and touch the various tools and equipment they are going to encounter in the field. We also used the time to conduct a mini question and answer session.”
The last day the students put their knowledge to the test by taking a written exam. Once the students pass the exam, they will receive an official certification as a Field Sanitation Technician.
“Our goal for this course was for the students to be able to leave here with some general health information that may have been often overlooked or unknown,” said Miller. “We also want to provide them the opportunity to shine outside their military occupational specialty, by demonstrating some overall knowledge on how to help set up a FOB and keep Soldiers healthy.”
“This course was very informative,” said Spc. Larry Dizon, a combat medic and native of Eatontown, N.J., assigned to the 77th Sustainment Brigade. “One of the main things I learned was the importance of checking water sources to make sure they are safe to drink.”
Despite the fact the course was condensed to three days, all the students found something to take away from it.
“It’s important to me to have this information, so I can look out for my Soldiers well-being,” said Sgt. Robert Snyder, a human resources specialist and native of Keansburg, N.J., assigned to the 479th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion. “If my Soldiers drink bad water or eat contaminated food it can have a negative impact on the mission. Having people designated to do this in our unit will ensure our Soldiers safety and our effectiveness.