By Sgt James Hale (FORSCOM)November 7, 2011
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Ever wonder what the Army does for our country when it's not at war? Well the 62nd Medical Brigade is training for just that.
The Soldiers from the 62nd train at the Mission Command Training Center here on Joint Base Lewis-McChord to provide rapid medical support for any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident that the Department Of Defense responds to throughout the United States and its territories.
The 62nd is a part of the Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) team which trains to integrate with more than 200 military members, DOD civilians and contractors to support domestic CBRN incidents. This training provides them with the opportunity to work with some of these counterparts so they can have a better understanding of what it takes to come together as one team.
Bringing the military and civilian partners together gave Theresa Schneider, the 62nd's commander and chief nurse, a chance to meet and sit down with Rita Hutchenson, the Rainier city fire chief who served as the 62nd's chief nurse 19 years ago before retiring from the Army.
"This exercise gives the medical task force the opportunity to exercise its ability to respond quickly and effectively as we deploy to a national disaster site and work with our civilian colleagues to take care of the folks who are effected by that natural disaster," said Schneider.
This exercise is based on a scenario that a chemical agent causes an outbreak of pneumonic plague after being released during a concert in Albuquerque N.M. The JTF-CS must react and be in place to provide support within 24 hours and continue providing aid until the situation has been resolved.
"It's awesome that the 62nd is partnered with Rainier," said Hutchenson. "The fire service is a paramilitary service where the management system is very similar but it takes getting to know the people you work with to do this job efficiently."
Most Soldiers get to say their goodbyes to their families before deploying to other countries. The soldiers from the 62nd must be ready to grab their gear and deploy to what may be your home town at a moment's notice. Not all of threats or deployments are on foreign soil, and it's good to know that we are prepared to care for our own.