JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Brooke Army Medical Center conducted a field training exercise Oct. 12-21 to focus on pre-deployment readiness and training.
The semi-annual field training exercise, or FTX, is a four-phased event that includes planning, pre-deployment, Soldier Readiness Processing, medical team training and recovery to increase individual Soldier readiness, train new leaders on pre-deployment tasks and provide Individual Critical Task List training.
“The FTX provides the opportunity to train BAMC personnel in tasks and activities under field conditions that are not normally conducted during daily healthcare operations,” said BAMC Commanding General U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Deydre Teyhen. “These types of training events give our service members the opportunity to train in garrison for what they might encounter if they deploy downrange.”
As part of the FTX, the Department of Hospital Education’s 68W Combat Medic Sustainment simulated a forward deployed surgical capability at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from Oct. 18-21. Using mannequins and role players, BAMC personnel executed job-specific individual clinical skills at various levels of care to prepare for deployment in austere environments.
“For a lot of these individuals, this may be their first experience in trauma medicine,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric McEllen, noncommissioned officer in charge of the FTX.
“This was the most realistic training I’ve seen,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Mikayla Roland. “It’s important to remember our training and to reflect on what we’ve learned already, and also reflect on what we could have done better.”
As an added component, the U.S. Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing Critical Care Air Transport Team pilot unit partnered with BAMC combat medic sustainment training personnel to execute a simulated aeromedical evacuation of critically injured patients from an austere location to a higher echelon of care.
JBSA has the largest number of critical care air transport team, or CCATT, personnel within the Air Force. This exercise gave service members an opportunity to practice the skills they learned during CCATT initial and advanced trainings. Participants were given the chance to properly package and prepare for aeromedical evacuation and execute an in-flight training sortie on a Texas Air National Guard C-130J.
“The entire purpose of this FTX is to provide (service members) opportunities to get experience in the things they haven’t done or that they have only been able to do on mannequins, or in school,” McEllen said. “I think we have been successful.”
The final phase of the FTX was personnel and equipment recovery.
Leaders also ensured service members received credit for their training and discussed what went well and what needs improvement.
“It is imperative that our service members hone their skills so they can perform at the top of their ability no matter the environment,” said BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Thurman Reynolds. “This FTX was also an opportunity for Soldiers to carry out their jobs in an operational environment, which is incredibly valuable — and a welcome change of pace — for our staff who work in a hospital environment.”
“Thank you to everyone who contributed to this tremendous training opportunity for our service members,” Teyhen added. “We will continue to look for additional opportunities to sustain our readiness and hone our warrior skills.”