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    IRT builds readiness and strengthens community partnerships



    Courtesy Story

    3rd Medical Command Deployment Support

    “Innovative Readiness Training events are the ultimate way to exercise joint cooperation and deployment medical skill sets in the US,” said Maj. Gen. William Shane Lee, Commander of the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support).
    IRT’s are a Department of Defense military training opportunity providing hands-on, real-world training to improve readiness and survivability in complex contingency environments by providing opportunities for Active, Guard, and Reserve Service Members, to integrate as a joint and whole-of-society team to train and serve American communities.
    Servicemembers from U.S. Army, Army Reserve, National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and U.S. Navy Reserve units provided no-cost medical, dental, optical and veterinary care during the Healthy Cortland and Greater Chenango Cares Innovative Readiness Training, July 11-20, 2019.
    Working out of local schools, personnel established locations to set up equipment, provided care and conducted operations in situations similar to deployment.
    “We have joint services working together to set up and run everything needed to maintain a fully operating field dental clinic,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Stanley Michel, the Norwich site officer in charge of dental, assigned to the 914th Air Refueling Wing.
    Maj. Deanna Howell, an active duty veterinarian with the 218th Medical Detachment, (Veterinary Services), said, “It’s amazing, we deployed with 1/3 of our unit and equipment to an austere unfamiliar environment and created a clinic,” adding, “This environment provided new challenges for us to overcome.”
    Capt. Matt Watson, veterinarian with the 422nd MD (VS), embedded with his active duty counterparts said, “This is a great opportunity for operating and training on equipment in an austere environment.” Watson added, “Working with active counterparts has allowed for great dialogue and increased perspective.”
    Beyond simply setting up and operating in an austere environment, IRT benefits to the community are real and tangible across many aspects of the community. The Healthy Cortland and Greater Chenango Cares IRT provided no-cost service to over 3,500 patients and contributed over 5,000 hours of specialized training and 100 hours of classroom cross-training across all ranks and branches of service.
    Staff Sgt. Christine Alvarado, with the 455th Medical Company, Dental Support, said, “The IRT allowed for cross training, equipment maintenance and building efficiencies from day to day, some of this training we wouldn’t get without the other services.”
    Discussing overall readiness, MAJ Frank Forgnoni, an optometrist with the 3rd Medical Command said, “The joint force interaction coupled with the civilian medical and military experience provides for increased readiness and skill sets I can use in the future.”
    One of the stated purposes of the IRT is to strengthen and build community partnerships, while providing key services for American communities.
    “Everyone was joyful when they saw us,” said Danielle Tracy, Homer Junior High School special education teacher. “My stepdaughter probably wouldn’t have been in to see an optometrist without this opportunity.”
    Tracy continued, saying it was her stepdaughter’s first ever eye exam, “We found out she needed glasses, which she is very excited about!” explained Tracy. “I don’t know how long it would’ve been before we found that out on our own.”
    The benefits extend to some more out of sight community concerns, “This IRT fills a need in the community as many animals would not otherwise get treatment,” said Annette Clark, Executive Director with the Chenango SPCA.
    The veterinarians were able to spay/neuter over 400 animals and through community with Clarke adding, “We worked with civilian veterinarians in the community to coordinate follow up with any animal needs.”
    While observing the training on July 19th in Cortland, Lee said, “IRT’s are the best retention tools for Army Medical Providers, it’s events like this keep medical providers excited to continue serving.”
    Lt. Col, Charles Crusha, a nurse in the 7207th Medical Support Unit, with over 30-years of service said, “This IRT has been Amazing; I’ve never had interaction with other services this close this long, ” adding, “The community and patients continually say thank you, but in the end they are helping us as much as we are helping them.”

    Staff Sgt. Austin Harvill, 140th Wing and Airman 1st Class Cameron Lewis, 115th Fighter Wing contributed to this story.



    Date Taken: 07.19.2019
    Date Posted: 07.23.2019 14:15
    Story ID: 332629
    Location: CORTLAND, US

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