FORT DETRICK, Md. -- A recent visit to Qatar is helping the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency's Business Support Office hone its curriculum to improve training for Soldiers in the use of a vital medical logistics system.
In December, trainers from the BSO at Fort Detrick embarked on a two-week trip to Camp As Sayliyah, where they administered on-site training and received valuable student feedback on the Theater Enterprise Wide Logistics System (TEWLS) program.
While the BSO offers training, both online and didactic, as needed to different Army units, the visit marked the first time the BSO completed a "start to finish" training cycle with a single company.
The 387th Medical Logistics Company, an Army Reserve unit out of Miami, had taken part in a two-week training stateside before deploying to Qatar in support of U.S. Central Command forces across the Middle East region.
While the initial training was helpful, being able to train in their new environment provided a much better learning experience.
"We worked alongside them the entire time we were there," said Aleasa Price, a TEWLS trainer for USAMMA's BSO. "As a team, this was our first trip to do this."
The visit, which wrapped up Dec. 20, 2019, provided the team face-to-face time with their students to experience the day-to-day operation and troubleshoot problems in the field.
"After we do the initial training, it may be months before they have access to the system," Price said, "so we wanted to make sure that the transition was smooth and, if there were any gaps in their knowledge, we could help close them."
It also allowed for direct feedback that the team can use for a comprehensive assessment of the current TEWLS training curriculum, using direct observation, interviews and surveys from the Soldiers.
"We were able to see what we were teaching and how they were putting it in practice," said Enoc Santos, TEWLS training team leader for USAMMA's BSO. "That was the best part, as well as working with the Soldiers. I love that, so that was great."
Santos said the feedback from the unit will allow them to fine tune their processes and adjust their curriculum to better suit the needs of Soldiers in the future. Some possible improvements include new hands-on videos or scenario-based training.
TEWLS, a joint military information system developed and sustained by the Defense Health Agency's Joint Medical Logistics Functional Development Center, is used by operational forces for medical supply chain and assemblage life cycle management processes in support of the global joint mission.
The SAP software-based enterprise resource planning application integrates multiple business processes, including inventory, warehouse and financial management, and organizes it into a single real-time system for medical logistics.
In its role, the BSO provides functional expertise for the development and sustainment of the TEWLS application, which supports USAMMA's mission of equipping and sustaining military operational forces.
The typical training cycle includes a one-week introductory course, followed by a two-week session closer to a unit's deployment date. Then, if needed, the team can arrange a third session on location with the Soldiers, like its visit to Qatar, to iron out any remaining challenges.
The system, by way of effective user training, ensures troops have medical supplies available and at the ready when and where they need them, Santos said.
"That's our goal," he said. "When the warfighter needs it, they get it."