28th CSH deploys to Iraq
Six-year old Desiree Santos tries to find her father, Spc. Arnel Santos, during a deployment ceremony for the 28th Combas Support Hospital. The ceremony was held at Pike Field Monday for the 28th CSH, which is headed to Iraq for its third tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Soldiers of 28th Combat Support Hospital bid farewell to Family and friends during a deployment ceremony held at Pike Field Monday.

The ceremony was attended by several hundred Family members, fellow Soldiers and other distinguished guests, including Medal of Honor recipient Col. Gordon R. Roberts.

The unit is headed to Iraq for the third time and Col. Bruce W. McVeigh, 28th CSH commander, said his "Combat Dragons" are more than prepared for their impending year-long mission.

McVeigh said the unit will become Medical Task Force-28 when it replaces the 10th CSH, which is based out of Fort Carson, Colo.

The mission, he said, will be, "to provide critical level three hospitalization and direct surgical intervention to all U.S. and coalition forces, as well as to Iraqi host-nation personnel. We will also pick up oversight of medical support to detainee healthcare operations during our deployment time."

A Level III healthcare facility is responsible for evacuating patients from supported divisional and non-divisional units and providing resuscitative and hospital care.

McVeigh explained that the 28th CSH has spent its time at Fort Bragg preparing for the Iraq deployment.

"The unit has conducted two extensive field training exercises at Fort Bragg. The one in February nested in with 2nd (Brigade Combat Team) for enhanced patient play and (medical evacuation) operations," he said. "We also conducted three command and control exercises at the Fort Bragg Battle Command Training Center that was invaluable to our upcoming mission."

In addition to training exercises, the Soldiers of 28th CSH attended four weeks of individual military occupational skill training at Army bases around the country.

Thirty Soldiers were sent to the Army Trauma Training Center in Miami to receive training about the latest trauma and surgical care. Thirty-five Soldiers attended the Joint Forces Trauma Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Spc. Christian Martinez, a 23-year-old supply specialist, said the training leading up to this deployment has been both extensive and beneficial.

"We've been going a mile a minute for the last two or three months doing training and getting ready to go," explained Martinez, who is making a return trip to Iraq. "I'll be glad to finally get over there and get the mission started."

McVeigh is also ready to begin the deployment and said he has every confidence that his China Dragons will rise to the occasion.

"There is no doubt that this unit stands ready to take care of all of America's sons and daughters in (Operation Iraqi Freedom)," McVeigh said. "We will ensure that their care is world class and true quality in each and every aspect. Our job is to make sure our war fighters have the utmost confidence in their care and, in that, we will succeed."

Page last updated Fri October 30th, 2009 at 12:59