JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -The Honorable Gilbert Cisneros Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, accompanied by Seileen Mullen, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, visited the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) as part of a larger tour of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, May 12-13, 2022.
According to his biography, Cisneros serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary of Defense for force readiness; force management; health affairs; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; education and training; and military and civilian personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and quality of life matters.
During his two-day tour of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, in addition to visiting the MEDCoE, Cisneros engaged with key leaders from the U.S. Army North (5th Army), U.S. Army Installation Management Command, Brooke Army Medical Center, the Medical Education and Training Campus, 59th Medical Wing, and the JBSA leadership to explore issues related to Strategic Readiness, DoD Medical Readiness and Training programs, and Military Community and Family Policy programs. He also received overview briefs and tours at the various commands when applicable.
While at MEDCoE, Cisneros, who has held the Under Secretary position since August 2021, participated in an office call with the MEDCoE Command Group, Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier, J.M. Harmon III, and other key leaders in the medical training and education institution. Cisneros also toured the MEDCoE’s Critical Care Flight Paramedic (CCFP) Course and received a demonstration of point-of-injury care taught at the MEDCoE’s Tactical Combat Medical Care (TCMC) Course.
“We are a complex and diverse organization, and the breadth and depth of our mission is immense,” LeMaster said. MEDCoE is charged by the U.S. Army Combined Army Center and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to be the force modernization proponent leader for Army Medicine and the nexus of Army Medicine on developing Doctrine, Organization, Training, materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities and Policy (DOTmLPF-P) requirements for all things medical.
LeMaster said there was no way to showcase everything the MEDCoE does during the hour-and-a-half engagement. “The overview brief and the courses we highlighted allowed our visitors to see why what we do is so mission critical to combatant commanders,” he said. “Our Soldiers are trained to save lives on and off the battlefield.”
Maj. Sabas Salgado provided a brief overview of the CCFP program while Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Osenga led a tour that included a training scenario demonstration of students in the CCFP flight simulator.
“Our training enhances real-life casualty survivability,” Salgado said. He shared with the distinguished visitors a recent article that highlighted a CCFP student who rendered lifesaving aid to a gunshot victim on a San Antonio interchange.
Osenga wanted to ensure Cisneros left the tour with a good idea of why the MEDCoE and CCFP mission is so critical. “Going into the future, we are going to be handling more patient transfers, with more complicated patient scenarios, that involve more interventions,” Osenga said. “Our goal is to ensure the leaders understand that what our flight paramedics do here will impact our patient’s outcome weeks or even months later.”
The CCFP demonstrations included Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment interventions and a 9-Line MEDEVAC scenario that called for patient evacuation with en route interventions on the way to a notional battalion aid station. The TCMC demonstrations were focused on assessing and treating point-of-care injuries during simulation lane training coupled with battalion aid station operations.
“TCMC training draws the line between us, flight paramedics, and doctors, nurses, physician assistants, or other providers at roles of care like battalion aid stations or combat support hospitals,” Osenga said. “Flight paramedics interact with providers in almost all roles of medical care, so it is important for them to understand how to effectively interact with us and vice versa.”
During his visit, Cisneros also took the time to recognize Soldiers after the demonstrations in both courses with a coin for excellence.
The MEDCoE trains over 30,000-40,000 students annually through 192 health-related programs of instruction on JBSA. For more information on MEDCoE programs and training, visit https://www.medcoe.army.mil/.