36th Med Battalion gauges Soldiers' readiness during FTX

Spc. Fabian Ortega 
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) PAO

The 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion field tested its units last week, during a week long field training exercise held on West Fort Hood and the Elijah Military Operations on Urban Terrain site.

During the week, each unit had its respective field site fully operational; conducting individual unit training and cross training each other at certain stages of the week-long exercise.

The 36th is an all encompassing health support system, comprised of: Area Support Medical companies, Veterinary detachments, Blood Support detachments, Preventative Medicine companies and a headquarters company.

For the exercise, each unit had its areas of responsibility.

“The vets have their surgical area, preventative medicine has its responsibilities checking the environment’s air quality, ASMC’s have their mass casualty teams and ambulances ready,” said Maj. Eric E. Bailey, the 36th Med executive officer.

The battalion wanted to gauge the Soldiers’ readiness and its ability to rapidly deploy in support of contingent operations, said Bailey.

During the first phase of training, units set up various training sites on West Fort Hood, setting up and enclosing their areas under tents, just in time to seek shelter from the inclement weather.

On day two, the round robin cross training began with each unit stopping at every one of the six unit field sites.

“We’re teaching field expedient ways to check blood types,” said Sgt. Jackie S. Minor, a medical laboratory technician, with the 932nd Blood Support detachment, 21st Combat Support Hospital, at the blood support training site.

The 932nd partnered with the 440th Blood Support detachment, combining their efforts for the field training exercise.

“In theater, every medical facility’s blood comes through us,” said Minor.

Minor and the rest of his detachment are responsible for providing blood to combat support hospitals, troop medical clinics, forward surgical teams and any forward element on the front lines of battle.

Over at the ASMC field site, training was being given on patient decontamination.

1st Sgt. Jennifer L. Pirtle, 546th ASMC First Sergeant, cited the chemical attack that took place in Tokyo, Japan as recent as a decade ago, as the importance for training on patient decontamination.

The military working dogs made a showing for the FTX at the vet training site. Veterinary Soldiers gave instruction on how to medically treat animals, as the MWD’s lay on a surgical table and played the part of an injured canine.

“People had a better understanding, when they left our station, on how to care medically for an animal,” said Pfc. Rita J. Stewart.

The week-long FTX culminated in a mass casualty exercise held at the Elijah MOUT site, Sept. 14.

Soldiers were given the opportunity to put their training to the test, in a simulated hostile area with known enemies to be present.

The culminating exercise was the Soldiers’ medium to show us what they learned during this crawl, walk and run FTX, Bailey said.