Staff Sgt. Michael White, and instructor with the 187th Medical Battalion, takes Pfc. Amaya Cerutti’s temperature after she returned from Holiday Block Leave.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Michael White, and instructor with the 187th Medical Battalion, takes Pfc. Amaya Cerutti’s temperature after she returned from Holiday Block Leave. (Photo Credit: Tish Williamson, MEDCoE) VIEW ORIGINAL
Staff Sgt. Eric Serrano, an Instructor with the 32d Medical Brigade, screens returning Holiday Block Leave Soldier.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Eric Serrano, an Instructor with the 32d Medical Brigade, screens returning Holiday Block Leave Soldier. (Photo Credit: Tish Williamson, MEDCoE) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lt. Col. Nadia M Pearson, MEDCoE Command Surgeon (seated) poses for a group photo with members of the Holiday Block Leave Team Reintegration Testing Cell.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Nadia M Pearson, MEDCoE Command Surgeon (seated) poses for a group photo with members of the Holiday Block Leave Team Reintegration Testing Cell. (Photo Credit: Tish Williamson, MEDCoE) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tish Williamson, MEDCoE
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pfc. Shavarianna Burton is greeted at the first station for Holiday Block Leave reintegration screening as Lt. Col. Nadia M Pearson, MEDCoE Command Surgeon and Command Sgt. Major Gilberto Colon, 32nd Medical Brigade Command Sergeant Major, look on. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) cadre, leaders and medical personnel screened approximately 3,000 Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Soldiers returning to Joint Base San Antonio from their holiday block leave (HBL) between December 30 and January 4. During their HBL trainees had the opportunity to spend the holiday season with their families and loved ones in various locations across the continental United States. For many, this leave is was first chance to return home after joining the military.

The medical screening is part of the ongoing efforts by MEDCoE and the U.S. Army to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Returning Soldiers had their temperatures checked and were asked detailed medical questions to ascertain their health status. Soldiers needing additional screening were evaluated by on site medical providers and sent to another location for COVID-19 testing. The HBL Reintegration Testing Cell consisted of a joint effort by MEDCoE providers and staff in the Force Health Protection Cell and Support Staff from the Navy Medical Training Support Center (NMTSC).

Despite initial screening, all returning AIT Soldiers are under a mandatory two-week restriction of movement (ROM) as an additional precaution to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19. During this time, Soldiers will continue their training virtually before returning to the classroom once cleared from ROM.

Pfc. Amaya Cerutti, an AIT Soldier from Raleigh North Carolina completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill in December before taking HBL. Her first stop upon arrival at JBSA was MEDCoE’s mandatory HBL reintegration screening. She said she appreciated the measures MEDCoE was taking to ensure everyone’s safety and was excited to get screened so that she can begin her training to become a 68W Combat Medic.

“I think the medical screening is good, since so many of us are coming from different states with different regulations for COVID,” Cerutti said. “I’m going to be quarantined for two weeks before we start any of the fun stuff, but I am looking forward to the phase where you actually learn the nitty gritty on the MOS specific curriculum.”

Cerutti, who was delayed entry to BCT for several months as part of the Army’s COVID-19 mitigation said she has aspired to become a combat medic for a very long time and thinks it will be worth the wait. “I know we get to learn EMT, clinical, and labs, but the combat training is what I am looking forward to the most.”

68W Combat Medics, the second largest military occupational specialty in the Army, administer emergency medical care at the point of injury in both combat and humanitarian situations. New recruits attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, designed to turn civilians into Soldiers, at various locations. Trainees then attend 16 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the MEDCoE.