FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School unveiled its new Deployable Medical Systems Equipment Training Site Jan. 25 at Camp Bullis.

"This (deployable medical) site is used as the culminating field event for most of our military occupational specialty courses, said Col. Donna Whittaker, dean of the Academy of Health Sciences, AMEDDC&S.

"Our student Soldiers spend three to 16 days in a field environment learning warrior tasks, battle drills and MOS specific training."

The DMSET is made up of several Alaskan Shelter dome-shaped tents connected together to form a Combat Support Hospital with all the amenities of a brick and mortar hospital including a medical services clinic; treatment areas; two medical warehouses; chemistry laboratory; blood bank; pharmacy; X-ray machines; an operating room; 12-bed Intensive Care Unit and a 20-bed intermediate care ward.

"There is a self-supported water system and the wiring is channeled under a hard-surface floor which can be easily removed for cleaning and replaced within a few hours, if needed," said James Shelton, DMSET instructor.

"In 1981, the Military established a tri-service steering group to guide the planning and development of the Deployable Medical Systems know as DEPMEDS, the project was launched as a result of congressional concern with the U.S. Military Services' purchasing different equipment for similar requirements," said Ozie Harris, branch chief, DMSET Support and Training.

"The first test of a DEPMEDS hospital took place at Ft. Hood, Texas where the 21st Evac Hospital performed a quad-service exercise from August to December of 1984, Harris said.

"In January 1989, the 8th Evacuation Hospital conducted the first DEPMEDS overseas deployment to provide patient care in support of the Fuertes Caminos 89 road-building project in Honduras. The first surgery and the first live birth occurred in that DEPMEDS facility."

"Education and training is our main thing; it's critical that our training is realistic and provides our medics with the equipment and experiences that they will encounter as they go to their first duty assignment; for many of them its deployment," Whittaker said.

"The 212th (Combat Support Hospital) was the first DEPMEDS hospital to cross the border into Iraq, Harris said.

"The unit's 160 Soldiers loaded the entire hospital including an emergency room, operating rooms, decontamination section, intensive care unit, laboratory, radiology section and pharmacy into 37 five-ton trucks and five Humvees to be the first DEPMEDS to receive casualties in Iraq."