Top medical officer mentors officers in Iraq
September 4, 2010
- Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, Medical Service Corps branch chief, spoke to MSC officers deployed to COB Adder, Iraq, via video teleconference
COB ADDER, Iraq -In a quaint wooden building on Contingency Operating Base Adder, 13 Medical Service Corps officers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division hovered in anticipation to speak to Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, Medical Service Corps branch chief, via video teleconference.
Rubenstein is the first-ever two-star general appointed to serve in the MSC. He serves as the commander of the Army Medical Department Center and Schools at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The VTC was the first opportunity for many of the officers to interact with direct questions to a general officer and hear the future plans for their branch.
The first order of business for Rubenstein was to address the current and future outlook for MSC officers in the Army. MSC officers have been actively involved in strategic and tactical operations supporting Afghanistan and Iraq since the war began in each country.
"Every aspect of the Medical Service Corps touches the Soldier," Rubenstein said.
Commissioned officers in the MSC branch can serve in one or multiple areas of the 24 different concentrations offered such as medical planner, healthcare administrator, entomologist, preventive medicine, social work, podiatry, pharmacy, optometry, clinical laboratory, or aero-medical evacuation just to name a few.
"MSC officers are the most diverse officers, regardless of specialty, that enable maneuvering, combatant commanders' flexibility on the battlefield," said Maj. Michael Story, the 3rd BCT's medical company commander and native of Augusta, Ga.
"Each specialty has either a direct or indirect impact on a Soldier's health."
Rubenstein spoke about the retention and promotion rate for MSC officers, both of which look promising. The MSC branch ranks second in retention and MSC officers see higher-than-average promotion and command opportunity rates, Rubenstein said.
Rubenstein said that for MSC officers to succeed, they must have a good balance between Army medical facilities and operational assignments to become well-rounded, and he encouraged junior officers to work in multiple positions and concentrations before deciding on a specialty.
"As the vice-president for the Silver Caduceus Society [a professional organization for MSC officers], VTC events such as this with Maj. Gen. Rubenstein offer professional development activities, keep us abreast of relevant information, create mentoring and networking responsibilities, and encourage social interaction," said Capt. Tiffany Bilderback, the 3rd BCT's medical planner from Milwaukee.
<i>(3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, is attached to the 1st Infantry Division and United States Division-South in southern Iraq)</i>