World missions a regular occurrence for Dental Services company
June 14, 2009
- The 307th Medical Company (Dental Services) is one of the many units training in support of Global Medic, the U.S. Army Reserve Command's pr
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - The 307th Medical Company (Dental Services) is one of the many units training in support of Global Medic, the U.S. Army Reserve Command's premier medical training exercise.
The exercise's goal is to replicate all aspects of combat service support on the battlefield so that Soldiers have the opportunity to practice an array of life-saving skills.
In one of the exercises, the 307th, based out of Valejo, Calif., responded to a simulated patient with a fractured jaw. This required the unit to coordinate with the combat support hospital to treat and evacuate the patient back to a facility with a higher care level.
Field training provides the medical units an opportunity to train on equipment and situations they would normally not encounter.
"In Iraq at this time," said Army Col. Robert W. Erlach, 307th Med. Co. commander, "many of the facilities are fixed facilities that you're just falling in on-a facility that's already up and running."
In this situation, the units are able to set up their own equipment, which gives them a chance to train for real-world situations where they might have to plan and set up from scratch.
Global Medic allows the unit to use its own equipment to train, so they can prepare for other important missions such as "Beyond the Horizon," an operation conducted by U.S. Southern Command that provides medical, engineering and humanitarian assistance for countries in South and Central America.
Erlach, a native of Santa Rosa, Cali., said that in 2005, Soldiers from the 307th participated in operations in Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Madagascar, Germany and the Balkans.
Not only is equipment training a focus for the unit, but communications with coordinating units is key as well.
"We're new working with each other, connectivity's always a problem," said Erlach. He describes this as 'battle rhythm': learning the right person to talk to, getting everybody informed, and less time trying to do simple communications.
"Hopefully, when that amount of time gets streamlined and we're communicating more efficiently we'll have more time to provide patient care, and the mission will go smoother," said Erlach
For three days prior to Global Medic beginning, the 307th has had time to communicate with other units on how to handle different situations together. Although these units may not be deployed together in the future, this is an opportunity for them to share experiences with one another for future deployments.
For instance, Erlach has 22 years of dental experience.
Erlach went on to say that in the Reserves, the doctors and dentists usually have more than 10 or 20 years of experience. He added that the clinical experience of Reserve medical staff is broader because they don't always have to stay within the boundaries of Army regulations.
"In my practice, for instance, I might do things the way I feel that I do them the best," said Erlach. "It may not exactly conform to Active Duty, but it's all within the standard of care."
Global Medic has given the unit an additional opportunity to train as they would in real situations. Next year, they are expecting to go to Nicaragua in support of Beyond the Horizon.