Soldiers assigned to the 14th Field Hospital, 44th Medical Brigade, conducted a validation exercise to validate the unit’s essential tasks to deploy a role 3 medical facilities and provide life-saving support from an austere environment.
“This validation exercise was unique because we are the only field hospital in the Army that is not co-located with its hospital center,” said Maj. Jimmy Pepoon, the 14th Field Hospital’s operations officer. “Because of that, we relied on 3rd ID along with other units to execute an effective validation exercise.”
The training which took place September 7-19 throughout the Fort Stewart training areas focused on realistic medical simulations including the use of cadavers and moulage on simulated casualties to ensure the medical personnel were given a wide range of injuries to respond to.
“Despite having very low mobility and other logistical issues, the Soldiers were able to conduct role 1 through role 3 very effectively,” said Lt. Col. Edgardo Ramirez, the commander for the 14th Field Hospital. “We were able to simulate a realistic field exercise and we did it safely and efficiently.”
The unit conducted air and ground movement from Wright Army Airfield to test the unit’s capability to rapidly deploy and set up the field hospital.
“Third Division Sustainment Brigade played a major role in providing and transporting equipment and personnel,” said Pepoon, “Seeing everyone play their role and work cohesively was very motivating.”
After establishing the field hospital, the unit coordinated with several supporting elements of the 3rd DSB for logistic support and the 385th Military Police Battalion for area security support.
“We were very grateful that we got to work with the Military police,” said Maj. Angel Soto, the executive officer of the 14th Field Hospital. “They provided security for us during our validation exercise while conducting their own as well.”
Also key to the realism of the training was the inclusion of a forward support medical platoon from 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade who provided a dedicated medical evacuation element.
“Working with the aviation units was unique because it allowed the soldiers to have more realistic training,” said Soto. “Being able to stabilize a patient before getting them to a hospital is very important.
The training was conducted around the clock with simulated casualties transferred by air or ground elements in mass casualty events designed to stress the capabilities of the field hospital personnel to respond to events.
“Having support from additional units throughout the field excerise, simulated a realistic scenario of how deployment would be like,” said Ramirez.
The field hospital personnel met this challenge by establishing a facility with a wide range of capabilities from an emergency room designed to stabilize incoming patients to more specialized capabilities including a CT scanner, microbiology lab and operating rooms.
“The support we have had here at Fort Stewart has been amazing,” said Ramirez. “I’m extremely grateful for all the support and effort everyone has put in to make this an effective field exercise.”
Also unique to the training was the incorporation of Modified Table of Organization and Equipment Assigned Personnel. These personnel are assigned to the 14th in specialty roles, but are not co-located with the unit at Fort Stewart.
“The VALEX was remarkable because the exercise brought healthcare providers from around the country together to complete mission essential tasks and execute them proficiently,” said Ramirez.
With the cooperation of the units involved, the 14th Field Hospital was able to conduct a successful validation exercise to sustain the unit’s essential tasks to deploy a role in three medical facilities and provide life-saving support from an austere environment.
“Overall I believe that it was a successful exercise,” said Pepoon. “Being at Fort Stewart provides a capability to 3rd ID to participate in other major exercises and become more of an asset to the Army.”