“Those who cannot remember the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them.” (George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, Scribner’s, 1905, page 284).
This lesson comes from George Santayana, who understood that studying history is necessary to avoid repeating mistakes. Capturing lessons learned from all aspects of military operations and applying those lessons to future missions are key aspects of Army doctrine. The Army seeks to avoid repeating mistakes made in training and in real life through this formal process. The MRTC captures lessons learned from Army Reserve medical units during annual training events and provides those lessons in a repository in JLLIS for all within the DOD and federal agencies to view.
In the spring of 2020, the MRTC was preparing for five major training events to be conduced over the coming summer months. These training events were to take place at key United States Army Reserve (USAR) training sites and included thousands of Soldiers, Joint partners, and multinational countries across all Components (COMPOS) of the Army. The three Army COMPOS include the Active Component, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve.
As the year progressed, a virus was detected in China and began spreading to other countries around the world. By the end of the second quarter, fiscal year 2020 (FY20), the virus became a worldwide pandemic and forced the closure of multiple cities, states, and countries. As a possible postponement of the USAR's annual training exercises and a growing USAR medical response to the pandemic, the MRTC’s priority of planning leaned toward exercise support but then pivoted to pandemic response.
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