Fort McCoy’s medical training facilities have a busy training season ahead teaching the Soldiers who help their teammates recover from illness or injury.
Fort McCoy has two medical training facilities: the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) and Regional Training Site (RTS)-Medical. The MSTC focuses on combat medical skills, while RTS-Medical primarily helps Soldiers who set up field hospitals and keep them running.
“Our mission is to conduct 68W sustainment for all Army 68Ws, or medics,” said Luis Illescas, a course coordinator with the MSTC.
“(Medics) have a 72-hour continuing education requirement that has to be met every two years,” Illescas said. “We help them meet that training requirement; if they don't meet it, they lose their license and military occupational specialty (MOS).”
The MSTC offers multiple courses to choose from, which allows units to complete their certification requirements in one go or combine it with other training. Classes are scheduled for both medic and paramedic refresher courses throughout the year, and in 2021, there will be many.
The MSTC also offers the Combat Lifesaver Course, which trains Soldiers in lifesaving skills to assist combat medics or provide assistance to a wounded Soldier until a combat medic can help them. Many of the many initial 40-hour certification courses are filled for 2021. The MSTC also offers the one-day recertification class.
RTS-Medical, one of three Army Reserve sites that offers sustainment training to reserve, active-duty, and National Guard units, is also planning for a busy year.
“Our collective training includes extended collective training for Reserve units year-round as well as mission support to several exercises conducted each summer,” said Col. Kelly Johnson, site director for RTS-Medical at Fort McCoy. “We also support unit premobilization.”
RTS-Medical also supports individual training for low-density medical support MOSes. Some examples include specialties in biomedical equipment, operating room, dental, patient administration, medical logistics, medical laboratory, nutrition care, radiology, and pharmacy. Staff members also cover training on the equipment vital to running a hospital out in the field, such as water distribution, waste management, power generation, field sanitation, and food safety.
Johnson said that this year will also see some changes in RTS-Medical’s setup.
“The Army is restructuring from a 248-bed Combat Support Hospital (CSH) to a smaller, more modular 23-bed Field Hospital,” Johnson said. The idea is that units can set up which components they need in the field instead of the full Combat Support Hospital.
To support the new model, RTS-Medical at Fort McCoy is transitioning from a 44-bed CSH training set to a 32-Bed Field Hospital, a 24-bed Surgical Detachment, a 32-bed Surgical Detachment, and a 60-Bed Intermediate Care Ward Detachment, Johnson said. The field hospital and detachments all operate under a Hospital Center as headquarters.
“Although the concept is smaller and more modular, RTS-Medical McCoy has significantly increased the amount of equipment to support the new field hospital and its subordinate detachments,” Johnson said.
All facilities also will continue to include COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols as necessary and required.
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.”
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.