18th Medical Command (DS) LTX 2010
Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, HI — Halfway through a tough and demanding lane training exercise, Soldiers from the 18th Medical Deployment Support Command paused to officially assign a new optometry team here Feb. 3-6.
Soldiers from the 124th Optometry Team, 18th MEDCOM (DS), received their unit patches before the unit returned to lane training exercises designed to provide tough realistic training that focused on combat survival skills. The optometry team is one of three units expected to be assigned to 18th MEDCOM (DS).
“This is a great day and a great place to be,” said Col. Erin P. Edgar, 18th MEDCOM (DS) commander. It’s great scenery out here, we are going to continue our training out here, and as we welcome our first supporting unit, I think this is a great opportunity and a very fitting venue to do this patch ceremony.” This is another milestone for us and one more step as we grow into the unit that we are going to become, Edgar added. “This is an exciting time to be a Pacific Knight,” said Edgar. “This is one step more that we can show that we are becoming the 18th MEDCOM and theatre enabling command that handles all medical responsibilities for U.S. Army Pacific.”
The Soldiers got right down to business by marching from the formation ceremony to the tactical operation center where to receive the warning order and prepare to go out on the training lanes. The Soldiers went through different lanes where they encountered realistic improvised explosives devices, insurgent ambushes and suicide bombers that ended with a casualty evacuation scenario. The entire organization, our reserve component and Soldiers that do patient care, got to do basic Soldier skills and tasks that most never get a chance to do,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy R. Shelton, 18th MEDCOM (DS). “By going through this type of training, the command recognized many different skill levels in our organization, and that a culminating event like this is a huge learning experience. Some of the training was completely new to some Soldiers and the command learned exactly what it should support them on.”
Maj. John Yoshimori, preventive medicine officer, thought the training was great awareness training for Soldiers in the unit who have not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. “The bewildered look on some of the Soldiers faces when the simulated artillery and small arms fire was going on – while at the same time having to perform medical treatment to a casualty or being ambushed – can happen when deployed, and if the Soldier doesn’t have composure and discipline through this type of muscle memory training, it will be a bad day,” said Yoshimori.
“Getting the Soldiers out to do the basic Army warrior tasks was important,” said Master Sgt. Roberto Rosale, G3 plans noncommissioned officer. “The training went very well and we all got out there and returned safely during the convoys.” One of the biggest things about the training was that, although I was a planner, this training couldn’t have happened without all of the other noncommissioned officers, the cadre, the OCs, the role players, headquarters and headquarters company and all of the support elements; they were a key part of this exercise, Rosales added.