By Maj. Martin Meiners, 101st Airborne DivisionOctober 18, 2019
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- More than 300 Soldiers assigned to the 531st Hospital Center, whose motto is "To Preserve Life," received notice Oct 18., 2019 that they would be deploying to support the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California -- in less than a week's time.
The 531st HC and subordinate units are conducting an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise, which tests Army units with a short-notice deployment under emergency conditions. It also tests the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the Fort Campbell installation, which assist the unit with movement, administration, medical tasks and many other requirements.
"I am fully confident that we will be successful under very short notice," said Command Sgt. Major Michele Johnson. "The officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers of the 531st HC and our subordinate units are extremely passionate about what they do, and this will only make us a stronger team of medical professionals."
The 531st Hospital Center is a diverse organization of medical experts that provide advanced care to the 101st Airborne Division and other Army elements. Its subordinate units include the 586th Field Hospital, 175th Surgical Detachment, 41st Medical Detachment and 431st Intermediate Care Ward Detachment. The team provides services such as intensive and intermediate medical care, surgery, dental and pharmacy, laboratory services, and others.
In the coming days, the 531st HC will move personnel and equipment by ground and air to Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California. There, it will provide field hospital support to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment during their NTC rotation. A field hospital provides line commanders Role III (hospital level) medical support in a theater of operations to help conserve the fighting force. The field hospital is subordinate to the hospital center and provides services ranging from routine sick call and primary care to emergency medical treatment and surgical services.
Col. Brandon Pretlow, commander, 531st HC, explained that the team was ready for this exercise, even though they had very limited notice.
"These exercises test our capability to alert, recall, and prepare to deploy under emergency conditions," said Pretlow. "This is exactly the type of situation our team prepares for, to be ready at a moment's notice when the nation calls. We strive and train hard to be ready for that call, and provide capable and agile medical forces to provide care for America's Soldiers."
The EDRE also tests the Soldiers and Army civilians of Fort Campbell. Teams from the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 406th Army Field Support Battalion, U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Campbell, and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will all provide services to help get the "To Preserve Life" Soldiers safely to their final destination.
"Fort Campbell is a premier power-projection platform," said Brian Carrigan, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security chief of operations. "It takes a concerted effort by the entire team to deploy a unit on short notice, but we have the right people and the right facilities to make it happen. The Fort Campbell Garrison workforce provides deployment/redeployment support year round for nearly 30,000 Soldiers assigned to the installation. This short-notice mission is an opportunity to test and strengthen our battle rhythm."