WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 30 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the Northeast Medical Area Readiness Support Group (NE-MARSG) and the Western Medical Area Readiness Support Group (WE-MARSG) downtrace units, Army Reserve Medical Command; have been sent to the National Capitol Region (NCR) in support of the NCR Low Density Medical Skills Sustainment Training, August 6-19, 2023. Additionally, a subset of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers under 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support) and 3rd MCDS echelons have joined their AR-MEDCOM brethren to augment the mission.
Also known as the NCR 68-Series operation, the NCR LDMSST is a twelvefold and collaborative effort between the three aforesaid USAR medical commands to provide medical caregiver, laboratory, and logistical support to Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the DiLorenzo Pentagon Health Center (DPHC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
"The mission of the AR-MEDCOM Soldiers is for them to backfill on shortages that the training facilities have, which is very large," said U.S. Army Reserve Master Sgt. Dexter Hilliman, the senior logistics noncommissioned officer of the Northeast Medical Area Readiness Support Group (NE-MARSG), Staten Island, New York; and the coordinator/noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the National Capitol Region 68-Series operation. "With all of these (Military Occupational Specialties) being available, and from the two or three training meetings that we have here, they gave us a list of MOSs and the amount of Soldiers that they help with. We were able to fill 80 percent of that on our first rotation, and we will fill over 90 percent on the second rotation because we have a lot more Soldiers that came in than the first rotation."
U.S. Army Reserve Pfc. Alex Steward, a combat medic assigned to the 7457th Medical Operational Readiness Unit, Richmond, Virginia, said that although he has civilian job experience in emergency room settings, the real-world training environment in the DPHC presented him with new insights.
"As a junior-enlisted Soldier, it helps humanize some of the upper-ranking people," Steward said. "Before here, I had very little experience with high-ranking officers and high-ranking senior enlisted. So to be able to take care of them is a lot more helpful to make me be able to understand that they are also people. I mean, they have rank and they have been in the military longer than I've been alive, but it is good to be able to (get) experience and talk to them."
In adherence with the "tough, realistic training" doctrinal mantra of the Army Reserve, training participants attain the dual benefit of working in real-world environments whilst improving upon their knowledge and skill sets.
"What I like to call this mission is the National Capitol Region's strategic partnership," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dominic Payne, the deputy commanding officer of the NE-MARSG. "When you call it a strategic partnership, that means that both sides are getting everything done better. And when we talk about realistic training, you cannot get more realistic than actually working at an (Military Treatment Facility), at a warehouse, or at a clinic providing support in whatever area that it might be to all of the components and probably the civilian or retiree personnel that go through those facilities."
"That's as real world as it gets, and with the possibility of a large-scale military operation where we will probably be integrating with a lot of MTFs across the board, this type of partnership is going to be critical for us to be able to operate efficiently because we are going to get the most up-to-date training from MHS Genesis, and they'll be able to work those systems as well as any other logisitics systems that they have out there in order to do their mission," said Payne.
Despite the short-term duration of the Army Reserve medical Soldiers at the NCR training sites, their presence has nonetheless been a significant force multiplier to Active Component service members.
"This is 100 percent important for them to be here to look at our equipment and do maintenance on our equipment because without them, we cannot do anything," said U.S. Army Sgt. Cynthia Jarvi, an animal care specialist of WRAIR, Army Futures Command. "We're going to be deadlined basically... and the animals would be in danger and the people would be in danger, so it is 100 percent important to have the (medical logistics specialists) around so we can get this equipment maintained and serviced properly. With them doing what they just did, that 100 percent makes our mission become even better."
Lastly, Hilliman attributes a large portion of the mission actualization to AR-MEDCOM's Operations, Plans and Training (G-3/5/7).
"I have to thank the AR-MEDCOM G-3/5/7 for putting this together," Hilliman said. "I will mention Maj. Quentin Stewart and 1st Lt. Knakita Cruz, as they were very, very instrumental in making this a success. No way that myself or my co-leader, Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Jordan, would have been able to do this on our own."
The next rotation of the NCR LDMSST is slated to provide coverage at the training sites from August 20 to September 2, 2023.