Maj. Jennifer Noetzel, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity -- Fort Stewart audiologist and team lead for the Army Hearing Program at Fort Stewart, provided audiological support for this training.
"Our focus is really on prevention of hearing loss," Noetzel said, "[and for Soldiers being able] to maintain operational hearing capabilities in an operational environment and making sure they're fit for duty."
During the TCAPS training, Noetzel and the MEDDAC audiological team from Winn Army Community Hospital oversaw a regimented auditory screening process, which included a hearing test and the device fitting. The team was then shown the inner workings of the device and the correct way of assembling and disassembling the TCAP unit. A process that was closely supervised by Noetzel and her team.
"It was really important that we had this kind of hands-on training," said Capt. Donna Sanders, 48th IBCT. "The fact that we had all this support and the fact that MEDCOM was listening to the fact that Soldiers wanted something to this level."
The TCAPS is an advanced hearing apparatus designed to enhance communication and surveillance awareness while also providing incomparable auditory protection for the Soldiers. This is imperative as concise and clear communication on the battlefield may be the difference between life or death.
"Especially in a mission setting, it's very important considering the fact that there could be so many things going on," Sanders said. "If I miss one little thing, it could possibly kill Soldiers or it could get myself killed."
To complete the training, the 48th IBCT utilized the TCAPS hearing system to target and ascertain the location of an exceedingly slight and mobile sound.
"I feel like it heightened my sense of awareness," Sanders said. "With your regular hearing, you can usually hear what's going on but, there's always [like] distraction. With this, I felt like I had more situational awareness, and I had it with more clarity."
Ultimately, the TCAPs training provides a valuable tactical tool that will protect Soldiers while also ensuring mission readiness. Fort Stewart-MEDDAC's ability to provide this crucial service will ensure these Soldiers are not only ready for the battlefield but protected from dangers such as hearing loss.