By Spc. Ian ValleyJuly 28, 2014
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - Medics supporting the Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 91 14-03 stand by on every forward operating base on Fort Hunter Liggett, California, to assist any Soldier who needs medical attention. WAREX 91 14-03 provides training for Army Reserve Soldiers in a tactical environment. Most Army Reserve Soldiers only get this kind of training when they are actually deployed. With this duplication of a war-like environment comes the risk of bodily harm. These medics must be ready to aid any Soldier in need.
"We are not [role] players at all," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Mariconi noncommissioned officer in charge of the medical clinics during WAREX 91 14-03, and assigned to the 7214th Medical Support Unit in Garden Grove, California. "Our primary mission for the WAREX is to provide real-world medical support for the exercise."
Soldier safety is a priority during WAREX; even so, accidents can happen. The medics must be able to treat common injuries that may occur during the exercise.
Mariconi said the biggest concerns are weather-related injuries, sprains, dermatological issues and allergies. For most of these, medication is available in each clinic to treat the Soldiers. Other, more serious injuries must be treated at the medical center on post or a local civilian hospital.
Capt. Qunkiu Yuen, a nurse with the 7214th MSU, and assigned to the FOB Schoonover clinic, says there is a new trend though.
"We are starting to see a lot of upper respiratory infections, mostly due to Soldiers coming from different regions," said Yuen. "They are coming to this dusty area and haven't got used to the environment."
No matter what ailment the Soldier suffers from, the first step in patient care is the initial assessment, said Yuen. Soldiers will fill out information sheets, just as they would in any hospital to better help the medical staff evaluate their health.
After this, a member of the medical staff will interview each patient, said Yuen. The medic will check the patients' basic vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature.
The medics want to find out what is wrong with the patient and how long have they been in that condition, says Yuen.
"I will follow the medics. They will give me a short synopsis of what's going on with the patient."
The medics will do their best to treat the Soldiers on the FOB, if it is something they can take care of, Yuen says. In other cases, the patient must be taken elsewhere.
Yuen, who is the primary health care provider for FOB Schoonover, has the final say on where patients will be treated.
"For stuff that I can't do here, I will send them forward to the TMC [Troop Medical Clinic] or outside to the hospital," said Yuen.
Although the medics can only help Soldiers with issues within their skillset, Yuen says the medics' job is still very important.
"In the military, most of our medical care on the frontline is medics," said Yuen. "They have a basic education on how to take care of immediate stuff."
This includes controlling bleeding and breathing.
Yuen says patients must be stabilized once in the clinics until they either get flown out of theater or are deemed healthy enough to return to duty.
Sgt. Christopher Price, of the 7214th MSU and the NCOIC of the FOB Milpitas clinic, says that he couldn't do his job successfully without the help of his medical staff.
"They're doing a phenomenal job," said Price.
He says he has seen them grow and be very proactive throughout this exercise. As a leader, he takes pride in the fact that his Soldiers display maturity and discipline.
"I can walk away from my aid station for a few hours, and I wont have any issues," said Price.
Whether going for sick call or needing treatment for an injury during training, all Soldiers participating in WAREX can expect a first-rate level of care and attention from the medical clinics.