KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It dominated the massive Kansas City Conference Center, its Army Medicine message emblazoned on three sides with images of physicians, dentists, researchers and other elite Soldiers tending to patients, viewing microbes and conducting analysis.
The U.S. Army Medical Marketing Semi exhibit, also referred to as the AS5, was a hit at the recent American Academy of Family Physicians Residents and Students national conference.
The large, 53 feet by 16 feet, exhibit weighing 30 tons was parked in a strategic location at one end of the main corridor of the conference center, standing out from the hundreds of other smaller exhibits featured there.
The semi is managed by the U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion or MSB, an element of the U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade, based in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
"This is the first deployment of the MMS at this national medical conference," said Maj. Chad Agustin, officer in charge of the Kansas City Medical Recruiting Station. "It is the largest mobile exhibit here at the American Academy of Family Physicians conference, and gives us a dramatic backdrop for our healthcare recruiters, Army physicians and exhibitors, and has attracted a lot of prospects and community partners to our table."
Soldiers from the MSB are assigned to transport and set up the asset at events like this all across the country. They are trained and familiar with the equipment assigned to the asset so they can guide tour groups and answer questions people may have about Army Medicine.
"We get a lot of questions about the equipment we portray in use," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Guerra, an Army medic assigned to the MMS exhibit. "They want to know what type of Army medicine units get this equipment, how is it used, etc. They also want to know what the relationship is between Army medics like myself, and Army physicians, especially in a field environment."
The MMS exhibit has multiple displays, including a working SIM-Man mannequin that can simulate everything from a collapsed lung to a heart attack or stroke. It also has multiple videos that highlight Army Medicine capabilities and initiatives, such as the Army's recent successful work on a vaccine for the Zika virus.
The MSB has recently made updates to the MMS and plans to continue to improve the exhibit capabilities. It regularly coordinates with the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade to improve the exhibit to effectively engage Americans with the capabilities and advances in Army medicine.
"We recently improved the interoperability of the Medical Marketing Semi by installing an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality system that can replace one of the older Army displays on an as-needed basis," said Lt. Col. David Eckley, commander of the U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion. "The VR system provides the capability to introduce the viewing public to a variety of virtual medical and educational applications."
Eckley went on to share how they modified the exhibit by removing the center wall, creating an open space that facilitates larger groups. Potential uses for this space include small group instruction, such as a suture clinic or other medical specialty classes, creating more opportunities to show people what Army Medicine is all about.
The MMS is just one of many mobile exhibits the MSB fields on an almost daily basis. The battalion has an entire fleet of vehicles including interactive semis, adventure semis and adventure trailers, along with the Army Extreme Truck designed to inspire interaction between the U.S. Army and American public.