By Sgt. 1st Class Brian HamiltonNovember 5, 2015
Charlotte, N.C.- In recent comments at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, took the time to reinforce his top three priorities for the Army.
"Readiness is my number one priority," Milley said. "And as long as I'm Chief of Staff of the Army there's not going to be another one."
That said, it appears the Army Reserve took that priority to heart.
What is Project Arrive Ready?
On Nov. 2-3, 2015, the 108th Training Command (IET), headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted the pilot program for what has become the brain child of the U.S. Army Reserve Command Surgeon's Office former dental surgeon, Col. James Honey: Project Arrive Ready.
Project Arrive Ready was a 2-day workshop designed to help units become compliant with USARC's medical and dental readiness levels by identifying and training Medical Readiness coordinators within the command and subsequent divisions.
"Medical Readiness is important because if we needed our Reserve component in an emergency situation, right now our forces would not be ready and it would take time to get them to where they need to be. That's a problem," said Col. Carlos Berry, 108th Training Command (IET) command surgeon.
Currently, the 108th sits slightly below the Department of Defense Medical Readiness standard of 85 percent. The command team hopes that through Project Arrive Ready, those statistics will greatly improve by identifying Soldiers within the command to serve as Medical Readiness coordinators that will help facilitate the process for Soldiers within their units in need of medical or dental care.
In doing so, the command feels this will also help relieve some of the burden for what they feel are already overworked unit administrators, freeing up some of their time for other official duties.
"Col. Honey noticed the Army Reserve had a great number of Soldiers not following up with their medical care or just not showing up for their appointments. He realized that the unit administrators just did not have the time to follow up," said Keila Pizarro, 108th Training Command (IET) health readiness coordinator.
"He thought if we took TPU Soldiers and gave them the additional duty as medical readiness coordinators it might ease the burden on the UA's and might increase the medical readiness numbers," Pizarro said. "You see a lot of Soldiers that chose to be here and are passionate about taking care of their Soldiers so we're hopeful that this will work."
The 108th identified 71 Soldiers willing to serve as those medical readiness coordinators.
"The concept behind Project Arrive Ready was one Soldier to serve as Medical Readiness Coordinator for every 100 Soldiers in their unit or down-trace units," said Maj. David Reid, 108th Training Command (IET) command surgeon's nurse. "The main responsibilities of those MRC's during battle assembly weekend is to look into MEDPROS, identify which of their Soldiers need medical or dental appointments and then help to schedule those appointments in order to get their Soldiers compliant with Army Reserve standards."
Reid went on to say that the units under the 108th hierarchy selected their own coordinators.
"We didn't pick these Soldiers. We let the units pick who would represent them. The thought process behind this was to get Soldiers who want to be here as opposed to having them told to be here," Reid said.
"Judging by the turnout at this workshop, I think we have a good passionate group who are genuinely interested in what we are trying to accomplish. Going forward I'm confident we can fix this problem.
Over the course of the 2-day workshop, the coordinators were provided extensive training on a variety of medical related systems and then given a hands on practical exercise to further solidify their working knowledge of the various databases by subject matter experts from the 108th and Army Reserve Command like Pizarro or Master Sgt. Sandra Cook, U.S. Army Reserve Command House Services Branch noncommissioned officer in charge.
That training included MEDPROS reporting, e-Profile overview, AVS voucher creation and tracking, among others.
Cook, who travels extensively to units in the field has worked hand in hand with the 108th in facilitating this first of its kind training program.
"We are going over what the field needs to know in order to take care of their Soldiers," Cook said. "In conjunction with the USARC surgeon's office, we discuss all things G1, like line of duty and how to take care of Soldier's profiling issues, whether those injuries occur in-theater, at the unit, or in the BCT or AIT environments, how to get them the care they need, and hopefully help their FGR2 and readiness levels come up."
Only time will tell if the pilot program will work.
The 108th plans to monitor progress by relying on an extensive set of metrics.
But if the turnout and enthusiasm shown by the instructors and Soldiers in this workshop are part of those metrics, then the statistics surely must go up.