18th MDSC shines during exercise
Fort Shafter, HI – The 18th Medical Deployment Support Command completed a certification exercise conducted on Schofield Barracks from 17-25 Aug., that will officially make the unit initial mission capable to perform its war time mission as Mission Command for all medical units assigned and attached in the United States Army Pacific theater of operations.
The certification exercise was part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2010. A regularly scheduled summer exercise involving forces from both the Republic of Korea and the U.S. that provides valuable training for both forces.
As a part of the certification, the unit simulated a deployment by convoying to the Schofield Barrack’s leaders field, setting up its operations command post and conducting operations with its main command post back at Fort Shafter and other units participating in the exercise.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, United States Army Pacific, signs the official document making the 18th Medical Deployment Support Command initial operations capable as, from left Brig. Gen. Keith W. Gallagher, commander, Pacific Medical Region Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, Col. Michael McDonald, chief of staff, 18th MDSC, Col. Erin P. Edgar, commander, 18th MDSC look on, after the unit’s operations command post certification exercise on Schofield Barrack’s Leaders Field during exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 17-25 August.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, USARPAC, signed the official document that makes the unit IOC during a briefing to him at the completion of the exercise.
“You’ve achieved a lot over the past year, and I’m very proud of you,” said Mixon. “This was a really good effort by everybody. We appreciate the off island personnel support. You are a great asset.”
Many Army medical officers from the Professional Officer Filler Information System, along with other Army military specialists were attached to the unit’s many unique sections. A team was attached to observe and control each section to validate if the unit could perform at a level that would allow it to pass the initial operations capable process.
“I think this was a good experience and a valuable exercise for the 18th,” said Col. Tracy Smith, senior observer controller, 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command observer controller team.
Spc. Frank Fabian, air evacuation specialist, 18th Medical Deployment Support Command, moves his bags to in preparation for a convoy to the unit’s certification exercise during Ulchi Freedom Guardian on Schofield Barrack’s Leaders Field 17-25 August.
Smith mentioned that the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise was a good platform for the unit to use for a certification.
“Our mission here was to determine, in our professional opinion, if the 18th demonstrated initial operation capability. We think that they did quite well and feel that they demonstrated IOC for the operational command post,” Smith said.
Throughout the exercise all sections worked together to demonstrate the ability to coordinate with each other and subordinate units within the notional exercise theater just like they would in a real world deployment. It was a valuable learning experience for all.
In the theater patient movement section the medical situation report helps track subordinate unit hospital patient numbers of admissions and the number of Soldiers returned to duty. Along with many other vital functions, this is a very important function for a medical unit like the 18th MDSC.
Sergeant Maj. Leon Johnson, G3 operations sergeant major, 18th Medical Deployment Support Command, informs members of the unit on the next steps of the mission as they arrive to area X after convoying from Fort Shafter to Schofield Barracks during the unit’s certification exercise on Schofield Barrack’s Leaders Field 17-25 August.
“When we get numbers from our subordinate units, we have to make sure they are correct,” said Spc. Frank Fabian, air evacuation clerk, 18th Medical Deployment Support Command. “We sat down, in most cases contacted the units, brainstormed, and verified that the unit’s total numbers matched up before presenting them to the commander.
“In this particular exercise, I learned more about how to update and track the medical reports,” Fabian added. “I helped others in my section learn more about the tracking reports.”
Brig. Gen. Keith W. Gallagher, commander, Pacific Medical Region Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, congratulates Spc. Matthew Gunther, generator mechanic, 18th Medical Deployment Support Command, as Col. Erin P. Edgar, commander, 18th MDSC and acting 18th MDSC Command Sergeant Major, Sgt. Maj. Carl Dwyer look on, for his outstanding performance during the 18th MDSCs certification exercise during Ulchi Freedom Guardian on Schofield Barrack’s Leaders Field 17-25 August.
“We’ve learned a lot, we’re going to get better, and have paved the way for U.S. Army Medical Command to teach other medical deployment support command teams,” said Brig. Gen. Keith W. Gallagher, commander, Pacific Region Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center.
Gallagher also added that bringing all of the different parts to the 18th MDSC builds an all-star team “that works together, builds together and stays together.”
The 18th MDSC will participate in the UFG 2011 exercise next year in hopes of becoming fully mission capable.
After convoying from Fort Shafter to Schofield Barracks, Soldiers of the 18th Medical Deployment Support Command set-up the unit’s operations command post on Schofield Barrack’s Leaders Field during its certification exercise as part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian 17-25 August.