Medical officers host Silver Caduceus Society Call at Taji

Story and photos by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION TAJI, Iraq — Medical service corps officers at Contingency Operating Location Taji, Iraq, hosted a Silver Caduceus Society Call Dec. 5 to facilitate the professional development of the unit’s Soldiers.

Medical Company C with the 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in conjunction with the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), held its first Silver Caduceus Society Call in two years. This event provided a rally point for medical service corps officers to gather and meet with peers in the Taji area and talk about career development and progression in the field, said Capt. Tyler Cortner, C Co. commander with the 1/1 Cav. Div.

“We support the medical corps and the Warfighter, going between the medics on the battlefield and the doctors in the hospitals,” said Cortner, a Tulsa, Okla., native.

Cortner said there are roughly 10 medical elements at Taji. The Silver Caduceus Society Call acts as a conduit for medical officers to network and develop a professional association in their area of responsibility, he said. “If we can network and share resources, it really provides better care for the Soldiers that are out here supporting the combat,” said Cortner.

Because each medical element has different resources at its disposal, meeting with other officers opens opportunities to share, said Capt. Brent Lindley, staff officer with the Taji Mayor’s Cell, 155th HBCT.

Networking is important, especially in Iraq, where needs change rapidly, said Lindley, a Hattiesburg, Miss., native.

“It’s a lot easier when you have to call and ask for something or ask for help, if you’ve already met them and you’ve already established some rapport,” he said. “It’s important to know who’s doing what and what the capabilities in the area are. It puts you in position to meet any challenge that comes up down the road.”

Cortner said now is the time for collaboration, to help one another with career goals. Those who attended the call discussed education opportunities and career development choices, getting feedback from one another’s experiences in an open forum.

He also said experience brings wisdom and a better understanding of career progression. Senior officers attended the call to speak to the junior officers and share their knowledge in the career field, including guest speaker Lt. Col. Ronald Krough, chief of staff with Task Force 1st Medical Brigade.

Medical service corps is a broad area that offers myriad opportunities and paths, said Krough.

“We have over 20 different specialties in the medical service corps,” he said. “So some of these young lieutenants and captains have to decide by the time they have eight years or so in, and mentoring helps (them) do that.”

The methods and technology within the medical service have changed, but the people they serve and the mission stay the same, said Krough.

Units with the 13th SC(E), 1st Cav. Div. and 2nd Infantry Division, attended the event, but all serve the same purpose, said Cortner.

“We all kind of come together and support each other because we really have one mission, and that’s to take care of patients,” he said.

Cortner said meetings during deployment time can be an obstacle, when several groups are involved in a Silver Caduceus Society.

“One of the unique things about a Silver Caduceus Society is that you can just plant your flag in the ground anywhere you are,” he said. “It’s mobile; it can be in garrison or in a deployed environment.”


news photo
Lt. Col. Ronald Krough, chief of staff with Task Force 1st Medical Brigade and a Seattle native, speaks to fellow medical service officers at a Silver Caduceus Society Call at Contingency Operating Location Taji, Iraq. This was the first Silver Caduceus Call at COL Taji in two years.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho)