By Ms. Wendy Arevalo (Army Medicine)November 6, 2017
Army Medicine has more than 140 years of history on Fort Huachuca. Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center staff got to explore it firsthand during the 1st Quarter Staff Ride Nov. 3.
Twenty-two civilian and military staff members participated in the ride, which focused on Fort Huachuca medical history, from 1877 to present.
The health center staff toured five hospital sites, the Fort Huachuca Museum and Reservoir Hill.
At each historical site, staff read historical vignettes describing actual events that occurred during each time period. They also discussed how they would handle various problems that plagued leaders and medical staff during the period.
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Calhoun, who organized the tour, compiled the read-ahead material and vignettes for the staff to read. He said he spent many hours researching photos and original historical letters at the Fort Huachuca Museum.
"I absolutely enjoyed digging into the original letters and Inspector General reports. It was phenomenal," Calhoun said. "The history here is so rich, and when you realize what the soldiers went through, especially our surgeons, our medical folk, it's mind-boggling--they just kept going."
Ensuring staff members had the opportunity to learn about Fort Huachuca history was one reason RWBAHC Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Ronn, wanted to offer the staff ride.
"When you are back East, there are a lot of different battlefields. Military locations, in general, are more attuned to doing staff rides and visiting the battlefields to understand the history of our military based on what went on there on the East Coast," Ronn said.
"When you come out West, you have just as vibrant a history; it's controversial, and definitely less well-known. For our personnel who want to learn about those things, I just want to make sure we give them the opportunity.
"We do want to focus on the medical history if we can, but just military history in general is still going to be valuable for the folks stationed here," Ronn added.
Maj. Benjamin Tesfaye, chief of Clinical Support Division, said he found the staff ride very educational.
"I thought it was an eye-opening experience," Tesfaye said. "I didn't know Fort Huachuca had that much history, in terms of the medical institutions. There are a lot of buildings here named after people in the medical community.
"It was really cool to get a glimpse of how things were back in the day - with the Buffalo Soldiers, Mexican-American War, hunting down Geronimo, and how that stuff had a huge impact on the development of the medical infrastructure of Fort Huachuca," Tesfaye added.
RWBAHC plans to offer a staff ride each quarter.