Soldiers, friends and family members gathered to witness the activation of the 219th Medical Detachment (COSC), 31st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, on Bliss Field at Fort Bliss' main post May 16.

Soldiers of the 219th now make up the third detachment of the 31st CSH; joined by Soldiers the 507th Medical Team Optometry and 745th Medical Team Forward Surgical, which is currently deployed.

The growth of Combat and Operational Stress Control, or COSC, units in the Army is an
example of the innovative, holistic measures Army Behavioral Health, U.S. Army Medical Department personnel continue to take in caring for Soldiers. According to Army medical experts, COSC includes "programs developed and actions taken by military leadership to prevent, identify and manage adverse Combat and Operational Stress Reactions (COSR) in units. This program optimizes mission performance; conserves the fighting strength; and prevents or minimizes adverse effects of COSR on Soldiers and their physical, psychological, intellectual and social health."

After the ceremonial uncasing of the detachment colors, which were passed to Lt. Col. Noel Cuff, the new commander of the 219th Med. Det. (COSC), and carried on to Staff Sgt. Brandon Marsh, detachment sergeant, and its Soldiers, Col. Steven Rumbaugh, commander of the 31st CSH, addressed the new detachment's Soldiers, recognized their work in standing up the unit and shared with guests its importance to today's Army.

"Why is the Army activating this medical unit'" Rumbaugh rhetorically asked. "It recognizes that there are more types of injuries than just kinetic, blast and physical trauma. The Army knows how to treat these types of injuries quickly and return the Soldier to duty. This unit will treat the hard-to-see injuries; the injuries that affect the Soldier in different ways [in terms of] psychological and emotional health. Their mission will be the same, to treat and return the Soldier to duty."

He continued by sharing some personal insight on Cuff and his expectations of his new
detachment commander.

"He has about 20 years in helping Soldiers deal with their injuries and returning them to duty. Now he's charged with an additional responsibility ... that of command. My three tenets of command are responsibility, authority and, especially, accountability. This triad of command is my governing standard - it's not just my standard, but it is law. Lieutenant Colonel Cuff, command is a heavy burden. I know you will do well... 'rightfully proud.'"

Cuff followed his commander to the podium and said he was proud to take the helm of a detachment like the 219th as they add to the storied history of the 1st Med. Bde., and also vowed its Soldiers would be a strong cornerstone of the 31st CSH family.

"To all the Soldiers of the 219th Medical Detachment, you proudly and professionally represent yourselves, the 31st Combat Support Hospital and the 1st Medical Brigade exceptionally well," said Cuff. "The 1st Medical Brigade is the oldest color-bearing medical unit and the most diverse medical brigade in the United States Army. Today we add to the diversity with the inclusion of the 219th Medical Detachment. To the Soldiers of the 31st Combat Support Hospital, thank you for working so hard to meet our needs. We are committed to ensuring that we represent you professionally in all that we do."

After the ceremony, Marsh added that while the hours leading up to the activation ceremony had been long, he wasn't alone in his first leadership role in an activating unit and was grateful for the caliber of Soldiers placed under his leadership.

"The work has been ground-breaking for me personally as it's been my first chance to help activate a unit," he said. "Our Soldiers have worked unbelievably hard and unbelievably well; they've exceeded my expectations. From E-1 up they've done a great job."

Marsh also said the 219th's COSC mission is a great, new perspective on the 1st Med Bde.'s age-old motto of "fortitude and compassion."

"Our mission downrange will be to provide operational stress control and support to any unit that needs us," he said. "We want to get away from making people [feel like] 'patients.' We'll go find them in their comfort areas and talk to them there, opposed to taking them back to a clinical hospital environment. We're preventing Soldiers from being 'patients,' that's our goal."

To learn more about the specialized mission of Bliss' newest detachment, and COSC initiatives across the Army, visit

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