CSH Receives DEA Awards

By: 1LT Leanne Masserini
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) PAO

The 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was recently recognized as runner-up in the 2007 large deploying unit Deployment Excellence Award Competition at the 3rd Annual Chief of Staff, Army Combined Logistics Excellence Award Ceremony. During OIF 06-08, the 21st CSH was responsible for detainee health care at the Multi-National Force-Iraq Theater Internment Facilities.

The DEA program was established to recognize active, reserve, and national guard units and installations for outstanding deployment accomplishments and to encourage units and installations to become skilled in deployment operations.

COL Jeff Clark, Commander of the 21st CSH, and Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, unit Executive Officer, recently flew to Virginia to accept the award on the unit’s behalf for their successful and hard work in preparation for deployment.

“We did a good job of preparing to deploy. Our staff, led by LTC Lodi, planned it well and all of our Soldiers executed it very well,” said Clark. 

21st CSH had a unique challenge compared to most units on Fort Hood because the unit relies heavily on the medical Professional Filler System. PROFIS Soldiers (physicians, nurses, admin, technicians, etc) are assigned to MEDCOM TDA units and join MTO&E medical units just prior to deployment. PROFIS Soldiers joined the 21st CSH from all over the world to include Germany, Italy, Alaska, Hawaii and many Army installations in the continental United States one month prior to the unit’s deployment to OIF 06-08 providing a unique challenge for the CSH to train all the Soldiers to standard.

Because over 40% of the unit is PROFIS augmentation, the 21st CSH was deliberate in it’s planning of the 32-day Road to War.

To prepare for the challenges of detainee healthcare and incorporating over 140 PROFIS Soldiers into the unit, the 21st CSH went back to the basics: FM 7-0 “Training the Force.”

“FM 7-0 specifies that the unit must integrate the science and art of preparing a unit to ensure each Soldier, team, and the unit in the collective is trained and ready for the mission. We revised our mission statement, METL (Mission Essential Task List), and training to prepare for the specifics of detainee health care and ensure we deployed as a cohesive unit” said Clark.

The CSH synchronized a variety of training opportunities on Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, Fort McCoy, WI and Kuwait to prepare for the detainee health care mission.

Soldiers went through individual and warrior task training ranges at Ft Hood and specific job related training at Fort Sam Houston as well as MOS training at Darnall Army Medical Center.

“We coordinated with Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston to do clinical training, trauma surgery courses, pharmacy course, patient administration, lab, x-ray, Tactical Combat Casualty Care,” said Clark.

Prior to heading to Kuwait, the 21st spent twelve days at Fort McCoy, the 1st Army training post which had prepared their predecessors, the 344th CSH, for the unique aspects of this mission The 21st focused on detainee healthcare and defend. Training included MASCAL, outpatient medicine, simulated sick call for detainees within fenced compounds, working with MPs who provide guard force for the detainees, convoy live fire, M60, and 50 cal ranges. 

After training at McCoy, CSH flew directly to Kuwait to start their last phase of training before heading into Iraq. 

Training was not the only challenge prior to deployment. Providing support for their family members scattered throughout the world was also a very important to the unit.

“Provide for Soldier and Family Wellbeing was a specified mission essential task,” said Clark. 

“It was very important for us to have such an outstanding Family Readiness Group, have good email contacts, and establish a website to support our family members both here at Ft Hood and around the world,” said Clark. 21st CSH family members came from Tripler, Hawaii, Italy, Germany, and everywhere in CONUS. The unit FRG, led by Ms Gladys Mendoza, were critical to the mission success of the 21st CSH.

The CSH made their predeployment Casing of the Colors ceremony a Family centric day. 

“Families flew in from Germany, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington State, Missouri, Hawaii. Over 150 family members from out of the Fort Hood area traveled here to see their Soldier off,” said Clark.

Key to success in the METL “Provide for Soldier and Family Wellbeing” was for each Soldier to have a Prosperity Plan. The 21st CSH Prosperity Plan had four domains: personal, professional, spiritual, and family. “Going into the deployment, we wanted our Soldiers and Families to prosper, not merely survive, the year downrange.” 

To prosper while they were deployed, Soldiers completed correspondence courses, college courses, marriage enrichment, improved APFT scores, participated in devotionals, and developed as Soldiers and leaders. 

“We knew we could prosper during this time and we did,” said Clark. 

And the 21st CSH did prosper with 106 promotions, 104 reenlistments, and tens of thousands of promotion points earned. 

“Soldiers and Families did a great job. We were asked to do something that was challenging and complex. Soldiers not only excelled at the mission but prospered,” Clark said.