The air was filled with the sounds of people struggling into heavy, armored vests; picking up weapons; climbing into trucks; and talking on the radio.

While you would expect to see this scene in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is not a common sight in F Quad where the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division hosted an open house Monday, Apr. 5. The people putting on military equipment, climbing into trucks and firing weapons were not Soldiers; they were health care providers from the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic.

The Bronco Brigade hosted the open house to thank the clinic staff for taking good care of Soldiers and to help them gain a better understanding of what Soldiers do and the types of stresses a Soldiers' body goes through while performing military jobs.

"What do Soldiers do' They shoot, move, communicate, eat and sleep," said Col. David Snodgrass, the brigade's deputy commanding officer, told the group of approximately 110 health care providers as he split the group into five smaller sections.
The groups spent the next two hours rotating between a series of stations designed to show the medical professionals some basic aspects of military life. The stations allowed the providers to try on body armor and protective equipment; climb into the gunner's turret of a HMMWV; pick up heavy, crew served weapons; fire blank rounds from the M4 carbine; talk on a military radio; tour a Soldier's barracks room and finally see how medics on the battlefield treat simulated urgently wounded Soldiers.

"I didn't know anything about the military before coming here today," said Ranna Like, a certified nursing assistant, as she explained that she didn't have any family or friends in the military. "This is a great insight, seeing what the Soldiers go through," she added.

"This will definitely help me with my job. We see a lot of Soldiers with back and knee problems and now I can understand how they get injured," said Like. "This has been a lot of fun; it almost makes me want to join the Army."

"I didn't think the open house was going to be so important to me," said Elaine Maher, a social worker. "I'm having an emotional reaction. I've worked with Soldiers for years but I've never touched their equipment or put it on. This is excellent," she said.

Maher explained that health care providers can sometimes distance themselves from Soldiers' daily life, but the open house put them in direct contact with it. She said the open house will help her provide better care in the future because she gained a more complete understanding of the Soldiers' lives.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to understand what Soldiers helps us provide better medical care," said Col. Michael Brumage, the clinic director. "Our staff is majority civilian. Having them have this type of exposure is really valuable," Brumage added.

"To have the kind of partnership with a line unit like 3rd Brigade is incredible. I've never experienced anything as good as this in my 20-year career," continued Brumage as he explained the benefits of the open house and the new programs the clinic and brigade have developed to help improve the quality of life for Soldiers.

The brigade and the health clinic have recently partnered on new programs including advanced mental health resiliency training and improving crosstalk between a Soldier's military leadership, their medical case manager and other civilian agencies on post which all provide care and assistance for Soldiers. The open house ended with a panel discussion between the clinic's leaders and the brigade and battalion command teams.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16