Mission: Capture Army medical history
July 12, 2011
By Andy Watson
CAMP ZAMA, Japan, July 13, 2011 -- The Army Medicine Center of History and Heritage sent a detachment of its newly created Special Medical Augmentation Response Team -- Medical History to Camp Zama, Japan, on July 10, 2011.
The team will collect interviews, digital imagery, and detailed records of events in connection with Operation Tomodachi, which was the U.S. military's assistance to Japan following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, as well as other related disaster response actions.
Along with the re-establishment of the Office of Medical History, the new Special Medical Augmentation Response Team,or SMART, was organized to record current medical operations for research and further historical use in the future.
"I looked at our research collection, and we had gaps for our more recent history." said Bob Driscoll, Chief of Army Medicine Center of History and Heritage, or ACHH. "So we created the team to gather information from the field before it was lost."
The medical history team continues a tradition of field collection for the U.S. Army Medical Department, and can trace its roots to the American Civil War.
"Initially physicians, and later historians, provided information for the medical department histories for the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam." said team member Maj. Ken Koyle.
The current Special Medical Augmentation Response Team -- Medical History, or SMART-MH, consists of military and civilian personnel trained as historians with additional skills and field collection experience. Team members have also received training such as the Basic Combat Historian Qualification Course.
While at Camp Zama, the team will be gathering information concerning the role of the Public Health Command Region-Pacific and Japan's District Veterinary Command in the aftermath of the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor meltdown.