More than 250 Army Reserve Medical Command Soldiers, in coordination with approximately 110 active component Soldiers, provided medical support at Fort Knox, Kentucky to the Army's largest annual training event; Cadet Summer Training. The medical Soldiers were responsible for staffing the Soldier Readiness Processing site and augmenting the post's Troop Medical Clinic dental , immunization, and medical care teams. In total the mission supported more than 10,000 cadets through 15 cadet class rotations May 1-August 18, and more than 1,500 active component Soldiers.
AR-MEDCOM support was across the medical spectrum, from physicians to medics, and dentists to pharmacy technicians. The main effort was supporting SRP and dental readiness, which confirms Cadets are medically ready to attend the training, and meet all the medical requirements for commissioning.
COVID-19 screening was also part of the team's responsibility, explained Brandy Lacombe, the officer in charge of the SRP site.
“It’s been a challenge trying to figure out how to react,” the Lacey, Washington resident said, although her experience working as a contractor at Madigan Army Hospital at Joint Base Lewis McChord helped. The team ultimately tested every cadet as they arrived, and quarantined them for 10 days. Cadets who tested positive were quarantined separately from other cadets and eased back into training when it was safe to return.
The AR-MEDCOM Soldiers have enjoyed the mission and the opportunity to work in their military occupational specialty, as well as cross- train in areas outside their MOS where possible. “I’d love to do it again,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Norton, a lab technician with the 7240th Medical Support Unit out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “It’s been great interacting with the cadets. They reminded me of basic trainees, the same giddiness and excitement.”
The cross-training has been valuable for the AR-MEDCOM Soldiers too, including training as phlebotomists (drawing blood), Norton continued. “We get a lot of pass-outs with the cadets,” said Norton, a Missouri resident who works as a group home counselor in his civilian capacity. “It’s largely because of the fasting many of the cadets are doing for some of their medical testing, as well as nervousness. We handle it well, and we teach the phlebotomists that it’s 50 percent customer service.” Norton added that they work to reassure the cadets and keep them at ease while drawing blood, and will make sure they are steady before they return them to the SRP process.
While visiting the CST July 12, Maj. Gen. Jonathan Woodson, AR-MEDCOM commanding general, highlighted that the event provides a dual training benefit; creating readiness for both the future leaders and the AR-MEDCOM medical warriors supporting the event.
“It’s excellent training; there’s great morale and Soldiers are being taken care of,” said Woodson. “This is how we bring value to the Army in terms of our medical mission. These young cadets are going to be the officers of the future, so we need to take care of them and make sure they’re healthy and ready to not only knock out this training, but enter our formations. We are shaping tomorrow; investing in the future of the Army."