By Sgt. David Turner, 214th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentJune 21, 2011
By. Sgt. David Turner, 214th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, Ky. " Soldiers of the 4005th U.S. Army Hospital have a dual mission while conducting their two weeks of annual training here. It’s a once-a "year chance to practice their medical skills and update their training, but above all, their task is to support the nearly 300 Soldiers of Task Force Red participating in Operation Golden Cargo.
The task force, headed by the 1050th Transportation Battalion, from Newberry, S.C., includes six different Army Reserve and National Guard units. From Blue Grass Army Depot they conduct daily convoys and logistics support for the nationwide, annual exercise which supports the Joint Munitions Command based out of Rock Island, Illinois.
One big challenge for the medics and doctors of the 4005th is the heat. Lt. Col. LeeAnn Adams, chief nurse for the 4005th, based in Houston, Texas, said the hot, humid weather requires them to monitor the heat index constantly. They also monitor Soldiers in field closely. To help prevent heat injuries, they work closely with participating units’ leaders to make sure Soldiers working in the field drink water, take breaks, and eat regularly. They even visually identify those with previous heat injuries by giving them color-coded tags to wear in their boots.
“A big thing that we’re focusing on is prevention,” said Adams. In addition to working closely with Soldiers and their leaders, they also provide education and resources for each unit’s designated combat lifesavers, Soldiers trained to assist with first aid in the absence of a medic.
“It’s teamwork,” said Adams. “It’s working together, and it takes care of the Soldiers and prevents problems.”
If problems do arise, medics stand ready to deal with a variety of potential casualties, from tick bites to heart attacks. So far, though, safety has been good, according to Staff Sgt. Rufus Anderson, a Houston resident and medic with the 4005th.
“We’ve been blessed. So far we haven’t seen any heat injuries,” said Anderson.
While Task Force Red Soldiers worked loading trucks in the afternoon heat, he and two other medics waited in a sheltered area, ready with ice, water, and an improvised aid station, including plenty of saline and fluid in case someone should require intravenous hydration. At times they looked a little bored without patients to treat. But according to Anderson, that’s a good thing; it means that their efforts at prevention so far have worked.
“I think they just really don’t want to get stuck with an I.V,” he said with a laugh.