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    Texas medics hone fundamentals during annual training

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    BASTROP, TX, UNITED STATES

    07.29.2016

    Story by 1st Lt. Zachary West 

    100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    BASTROP, Texas (June 29, 2016) – Soldiers from the Texas Medical Command (TMC) of the 71st Troop Command, Texas Military Department, conducted individual weapons qualification (IWQ), simulated medical evacuations via helicopter, and other mission-essential tasks during their annual training at Camp Swift from July 25 to August 5, 2016.

    These medics spend most drill weekends and other training periods running clinics across Texas.

    “Our primary mission is the medical readiness of the troops,” said Lt. Col. Les Edwards, battalion commander of the TMC. “Anything from physicals and dentals to behavioral health. We support the whole state.”

    “We run clinics across the state, in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas,” said Maj. Wes Stots, TMC’s headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) commander. “That’s our real-world mission. Here, we train our soldiers to deploy; we take AT to practice our true 68W skills.”

    For the first several days of annual training, the TMC cycled its medics though IWQ, which requires Soldiers to demonstrate proficiency with an M4 5.56mm rifle by hitting a certain percentage of targets at various distances with a limited amount of ammunition.

    “We managed to get seventy-eight percent of our Soldiers qualified on their assigned weapons,” said 1st Sgt. Kevin York, the first sergeant for HHC, TMC.

    “Medics don’t touch the rifle as often as combat arms,” said Stots, “so the Soldiers take this seriously. We have a reputation for not being great marksmen, but this year, the medics of Texas Medical Command have proved that untrue. For the first time since I’ve been commander, we’ve qualified seventy-eight percent of our personnel, and I’m very proud of that accomplishment.”

    Edwards spoke about the necessities of educating medics on the responsibilities and challenges of their counterparts in maneuver units.

    “Medical officers and NCOs really need to see what a line unit can do,” he said. “Integrating with line units is a wonderful opportunity, because quite frankly, one doesn’t know what the other does. Right now, two of our officers are being sent out to the 111th Engineers and the 36th Sustainment Brigade to support them. We’re sending them over to learn what other units do, and vice versa, so that when we’re called upon to support them on the battlefield, we don’t have to figure it out then.”

    The Soldiers of the TMC also spent a day conducting medical evacuations (MEDEVACs) and casualty evacuations (CASEVACs) out of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on Blackwell Drop Zone.

    “Visualize a scenario where you call in a helicopter, stabilize a patient, load him up, and then get him to a hard-structure hospital,” said Edwards. “Good training. For some of the Soldiers, this was the first time they got to ride in a helicopter.”

    “They were receiving patients on helicopters and loading patients back to helicopters to get them in and out of different situations,” said York. “Although our medics in the clinics right now don’t do that, having them do it here keeps them fresh in case they leave this unit or get deployed.”

    Temperatures hovered in the high nineties on Blackwell Drop Zone, but the Blackhawks kept landing, and the medics kept carrying stretchers beneath the still-whirring rotors. Despite the heat, the Soldiers joked and smiled as they waited for the next helicopter to land.

    “The pilots said they’re here until you guys wanna stop!” shouted Staff Sgt. Patterson, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the training. “I told them, ‘Keep coming!’”

    “Getting together and doing training scenarios like this, it’s wonderful,” said Edwards. “It’s outstanding.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.29.2016
    Date Posted: 08.09.2016 19:36
    Story ID: 206608
    Location: BASTROP, TX, US 

    Web Views: 53
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN