FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 20 officers and noncommissioned officers of the 7236th Medical Support Unit recently took part in training to ensure that when their time came to deploy to a hostile territory, they would know exactly what to do.

The unit leadership conducted a field training exercise for its officers and NCOs that included various movements to contact, patrolling and the engagement and capturing of enemy personnel.

“This is small unit tactics, just for noncommissioned officers. We did a similar FTX for our lieutenants and captains about a month ago,” explained Lt. Col. William D. Thompson, the unit’s commander. “This is something that isn’t something that is totally new to these folks, most of them are medics. Other than the training that they get when they’re in basic training and (advanced individual training), this is about it on tactical training.”

One of Thompson’s NCOs, Sgt. Abraham Scott said the enjoyed the training and realized its importance to the unit.

“We’re a medical unit and we’re actually here on a Ranger base and we have a lot of things to learn,” he explained. “We’re learning on the fly and it’s pretty fun. We’re actually getting the opportunity to learn what Soldiers who are trained for this are doing. By executing this training we, as medics, get to go back and practice our soldiering techniques. It’s a pretty exciting time.”
Scott said it’s important to learn those techniques because there’s no written script and when you’re in that situation, you should know how to react regardless.

“We are Soldiers first and you never know when you may be needed to combat the enemy,” said Scott, a teacher who recently moved to North Carolina from Chicago. “We could be on a convoy and we may be attacked. We need to know what to do from the tactical standpoint as well as from the medical standpoint. We can’t get stuck in the bubble, especially as a Soldier, there are too many things we need to know.”

Thompson said this training is the first time that the unit has had an opportunity to come out in the woods and execute its warrior skills.

“This is year one of our ARFORGEN cycle. It’s our reset year,” he explained. “My three top priorities, as a commander, are basic warrior skills, tactical combat casualty care skills and personal readiness. This is just working the warrior skills and it’s in preparation to get these guys ready to go to our annual training later this month so they can train our E-4s and below.”
The unit is scheduled to conduct its annual training at Fort Bragg later this month.

Thompson said his unit has responded well to the training and it gives them an appreciation as to what the infantry Soldiers here on Fort Bragg do regularly.

“As medics it gives them an appreciation for what those 11 Bravos in the 1 of the 508 or 1 of the 505 are doing,” he said, adding that his unit has some relationships with other units within the 82 Airborne Division. Thompson said his unit is scheduled to support installation units during their upcoming joint operations access exercise later this month.

“This training is important to the military as a whole, but it’s important to us because we are a medical support unit and it’s important for us to know how to react to different situations. Not only in the field, but if we were to get called up for mobilization to deploy overseas or anywhere, we would know how to face the situation,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Rachandra Taylor of the 7236th Medical Support Unit.

Taylor said the training was also important to the unit leaders because it gives them situational awareness throughout various scenarios, allowing each individual to be in the senior leadership position and make the command decision.

According to Sgt. Daniel Rogers, the training was designed to place the NCOs in different situations and to evaluate how the control the troops.

Army ROTC cadet Jason Snipes served as one of the unit’s mentors during the training. Snipes, a Citadel cadet from Clover, S.C., said he enjoyed training with the unit during the exercise.

“It’s a great environment and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Snipes said. “I feel that we have a lot of the resources that we need to be successful and they’re getting a lot of great training. I’m just glad I could be a part of it.”