FORT HOOD, Texas – During III Armored Corps’ Warfighter 23-4, which ran the last two weeks of April 2023, the 1st Medical Brigade provided support in the exercise to showcase the level of health services they can deliver to the fight.
As the Army shifts its focus to large-scale combat operations across geographical commands with near-peer adversaries, WFX 23-4 helped units such as the 1st Med. Bde. to play a vital role in supporting a notional force of nearly 100,000 Soldiers.
“Warfighter 23-4 has given us an opportunity to train on how we would support a corps in combat with the scale of casualties that you would see [in large-scale combat operations],” said Col. Tracy Michael, 1st Medical Brigade commander. “The 1st Medical Brigade’s ability to do that and save lives on the battlefield is very important.”
During the exercise, Spc. Jaden Stanford, a patient administration specialist, learned the critical role her job plays in supporting combat operations.
“My job is to clear patients from the hospital so the 1st Cavalry Division can proceed with the fight,” Stanford said. “We also take patients from Role III hospitals to Role IV centers so they can receive better care.”
Michael, the brigade commander, spoke on the lessons learned in WFX 23-4, highlighting the need for non-standard evacuation platforms due to the overwhelming demand for evacuation in the event of mass casualties should large scale combat operations occur.
“The ability to rapidly evacuate casualties on the battlefield will very quickly overwhelm organic medical assets,” Michael said. “It’s going to require non-standard evacuation platforms.
Medical command-and-control across large areas is critical to a medical brigade’s success, Michael explained, and efficient communication can save hundreds, even thousands of lives during large-scale combat operations. The exercise helped empower units to work alongside allied partners, most notably the United Kingdom.
“We’ve partnered with our allies from the U.K., and we have been working very closely with their medical forces to figure out how we integrate and maintain interoperability,” Michael said.
Warfighter 23-4 simulated large-scale combat operations and involved tens of thousands of troops from across the globe, with the goal of enhancing lethality, allied partnerships, and interoperability. The exercise was designed to test the III Armored Corps’ ability to project combat power, and includes units from the 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade, alongside NATO allies.
While the 1st Medical Brigade provided health service support through the notional and simulated battlefield, their real-world mission to do the same at Fort Hood never stopped and continued through the exercise. Additionally, the brigade has hospital centers and units across several Army installations in the United States.