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    Tropic Care 2014 emphasizes joint teamwork

    Tropic Care 2014 offers real world joint training

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal | U.S. Army Spc. Stacie Beauchamp, 455th Medical Company Dental Services hygienist,...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal 

    DMA Pacific - Hawaii Media Bureau   

    KAUA'I, Hawaii -- Active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members provide health care to Kaua'i local community members during Tropic Care 2014 that started June 16 as part of a 10 daylong joint exercise.

    Tropic Care, an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) exercise, is designed to provide those participating the opportunity to work in a joint-services and combined civil-military environment while delivering world class health care to the community.

    U.S. Army Col. Susan Fitzgerald, 804th Medical Brigade and officer in charge of Tropic Care 2014, explained the overall mission of the exercise.

    "It allows us to train together with our sister services; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Hawaii National Guard as well as our civilian counterparts to train in an environment where we have the opportunity to learn from each other, learn from each others equipment and language, in a non-critical situation while at the same time to promote health care to the people of Kaua'i," Fitzgerald said.

    Service members conduct physical, medical, and dental exams during the exercise at three static clinics and one mobile clinic but the real training starts before the patients arrive.

    "The benefit is actually not in the providing of the medical, dental and optometry care because [these service members] do that all the time and they are experts in providing care," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Daniel Dire, 3rd Medial Command deputy commander. "The training is actually in the movement of personnel, equipment and medical supplies in order to conduct the mission just as they would have to do if they were deployed to a combat theater."

    Dire compares the setup of these static and mobile clinics as a means to practice for other real world contingencies.

    "The IRT mission is an opportunity for our reserve component soldiers to practice their wartime mission," Dire said. "That's to deploy outside of their home of record, transport all of their equipment and medical supplies and to conduct a real world mission."

    U.S. Navy Capt. Stephen Lee,24th Dental Company, 4th Dental Battalion, describes challenges faced.

    "[Medical equipment] can get fairly hot in this humid environment so it allows us to sometimes troubleshoot the equipment," Lee said. "We're not in a hard motored building like we normally would be but that's good training for us."

    Adjusting to different procedures in a joint environment has challenged service members to operate as one cohesive unit.

    "We have a great team here," said Sergeant 1st Class Marcela Reyes, 455th Medical Company Dental Services dental assistant. "We get to learn a lot about how the Air Force and Navy run things. It's a big learning curve but we're adjusting."

    U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Richelle Lodholtz, Expeditionary Medical Facility Great Lakes, says there is a lot to take away from Tropic Care 2014.

    "The joint environment gives the service members a chance to interact and see how we all do things a little bit differently," Lodholtz said. "This is fabulous training for everyone involved. I'm putting this as another notch in the belt and as more training."

    Patients are able to have health concerns identified, teeth extracted and examined, and receive glasses prescriptions, The Tropic Care 2014 Naval Opthalmic Support Training Activity team have fabricated 250 to 300 pairs of glasses a day to help fulfill the local communities health care needs.

    As training continues, service members continue to work with and learn from those in their military branches and their sister services.

    "It's been a seamless integration," Lee said. "You couldn't tell if you took off a uniform who was in the Navy, Air Force, Army or Marines. It's just seamless."



    Date Taken: 06.21.2014
    Date Posted: 06.23.2014 18:27
    Story ID: 134115
    Location: KAUA'I, HI, US

    Web Views: 453
    Downloads: 0