FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky - The 86th Combat Support Hospital (Eagle Medics) cased its colors, April 19, at Lozada Physical Fitness Center, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in preparation for a deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
According to Col. Bruce Syvinski, 86th CSH commander, while deployed, the unit will provide three key components. First, to provide mission command of assigned or attached medical units, Second, to provide Health Service Support capabilities, which includes staffing both outpatient, and advanced surgical inpatient facilities, and to provide Damage Control Surgical Teams and other medical capabilities across the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. The third component is to provide Force Health Protection capabilities including Preventive Medicine, Combat and Operational Stress Control, Dental Services, and Veterinary Services.
Lt. Col. Craig Dobson, deputy commander for clinical services, 86th CSH, said the unit has medical assets that will be tasked to partner with other nations' militaries, and to augment U.S. operations throughout the entire Middle East.
"We provide healthcare for U.S. and coalition Soldiers," Dobson said. "Our role is to maintain the fighting strength. We're a force multiplier in that we evaluate and return healthy Soldiers to the fight."
A unique characteristic of combat support hospitals is that, when deployed, they are comprised of organic personnel; those who have been with the unit long-term; and personnel from other medical facilities throughout the U.S. Army. In preparation for the deployment, the diverse unit conducted multiple field training exercises, culminating with a training event in which a tent hospital was set up at Fort Campbell and medical personnel were run through mock patient scenarios to simulate a combat setting.
"We bond together, train together, and deliver care together in a combat setting," said Dobson, who joined the 86th CSH from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "The folks at Fort Campbell have been instrumental in supporting us getting ready for this deployment; supporting our training exercises and troop movements. I really felt welcomed into the Fort Campbell community with the Screaming Eagles. We are all now Eagle Medics and ready to head out."
Spc. Anthony Lewis, a health care specialist, said he is excited about the upcoming deployment because he and his colleagues have the opportunity to showcase their skills and to demonstrate how well they have trained to carry out their duties while deployed.
"We are supporting different types of combat teams and it is really important to be able to provide different capabilities to keep Soldiers in the fight," Lewis said. "We have an excellent command team. It has been really easy for those of us who haven't deployed to gain an understanding of what to expect."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Col. Syvinski addressed his formation:
"I know our team assembled here; and in part, forward; is ready to write the next chapter in the history of the 86th CSH; to deploy to continue providing the world-class healthcare and Force Health Protection that our Service Members and beneficiaries deserve, and what Army Medicine is known for."
This deployment will mark the unit's twelfth since its activation March 1944, during World War II, and will be its last as the 86th CSH. The unit will transform to the 86th Field Hospital in April 2018.