By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Soldiers whose military occupational specialty (MOS 68A) is to
repair highly technical medical equipment participated in an intensive
three-week premobilization Biomedical Equipment Technicians/Engineers
training course at the Regional Training Site-Medical (RTS-Medical) at
Fort McCoy to learn how to repair the Deploy-able Medical Systems and
Theater Specific Equipment.
Soldiers in a Biomedical
Equipment Technicians/Engineers training course at
RTS-Maintenance train on the procedures to repair a ventilator
(I-Vent 201). (Photo by
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Kamp of the Medical Readiness
Training Command of Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, said the equipment
is used to support the extensive medical network in the Southwest Asia
at Fort McCoy is the only site that has Theater Specific Equipment at
this time that's doing the training," said Kamp, who's serving as
the technical adviser for the course. "They were chosen because
they are a U.S. Army Reserve Power-Projection Platform and have
mobilized several units."
The training at Fort McCoy includes repairing equipment for
oxygen generation, respiratory laboratory, X-ray, ventilators, and
anesthesia, etc., he said.
The equipment also lends itself to new technology and allows
medical personnel in-theater to connect and interact with medical
personnel in the United States to ensure the correct diagnoses are
Personnel taking the training are very competent in their field
because many of them work for major technical corporations, such as
Toshiba, Phillips, etc., he said.
Dean Tremble, an
RTS-Medical Logistics Management specialist at Fort McCoy, said the
training fits in well with the organization's mission to train medical
personnel to do their mission during deployment.
equipment also helps us train other medical personnel up to standard
here," Tremble said. "They are ready to do (their mission)
when they get deployed overseas."
Spc. Edgard Niebles, a student, said although he works on this
kind of equipment in his civilian employment the students get
experience on the military equipment during this training.
"We work with similar equipment, but it's totally
different than it is in the field," he said. "Going through
this training helps us get more comfortable with the military
Spc. Jeremy Sonnier, also a student, said the training was a
good refresher for him, and it helped familiarize him with specific
uses of the equipment in a military setting.
Some of the personnel don't see the equipment during their
civilian jobs so it is great training that way, too, he said.
"Many of the people here have worked in a specific field,
such as X-rays, ventilators, etc., for (several years or more) so they
are experts in those fields and can serve as subject-matter experts
when deployed," Sonnier said. "Everyone has to know the
basics of how to repair all of the equipment. The personnel here come
from combat support hospitals or medical support activities so they
can share their experiences there, too."
Soldiers in a Biomedical
equipment training class at RTS-Medical train on the procedures
to repair an anesthesia apparatus (Narkomed-M). (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
Paul Simpson, the Integrated Logistics Team Supervisor for
Eagle Group International, which provides contracted services for
RTS-Medical, said the training helps prepare the repair technicians
for equipment breakdowns in the field.
The instructors receive information about equipment repair
needs from personnel serving in-theater. Simpson said the instructors
teach the proper steps to find equipment failures and perform
These Soldiers will continue to provide support services when
they are in the field. RTS-Medical personnel will continue to teach
the course as long as there are hospitals in the theaters of
operations, he said.
"The training helps the biomed technicians make the
repairs quickly and accurately," he said. "It's a huge step
forward for them to focus on the equipment and know their jobs before
they get there."
"It's a force multiplier," Tremble added. "The
doctors and medical personnel could be the best in the world, but if
the equipment doesn't work they're down to using a scalpel with a
Kamp said after Fort McCoy the personnel will go to Fort Dix,
N.J., for further training on Soldier tasks, such as weapons
qualification, convoy operations, infantry and defensive tactics, etc.
The Soldiers, who mostly are in the enlisted ranks and come
from throughout the Army Reserve, will deploy in the summer timeframe.
"The Soldiers need to know combat skills because they will
be members of mobile teams that will travel to the medical sites to
repair equipment," he said. "If their convoys are attacked,
they will need to know how to defend themselves."
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Greenhoe, the Health Services
Maintenance Adviser for the U.S. Army Reserve Surgeon Office, said
Kamp is a good person to help instruct the training because he has
served in-theater and knows the issues and challenges that can arise
in maintaining the medical equipment in a field environment.
The RTS-Medical at Fort McCoy was chosen to host the training
because it is a Reserve Power-Projection Platform and it has helped
provide mobilization training to deploy many medical units, including
reserve- and active-component personnel, Green-hoe said. The Army also
has RTS-Medical sites that it uses to train Reserve Soldiers at Fort
Gordon, Ga., Camp Parks, Calif., and Fort Polk, La.
"Chief Kamp has firsthand knowledge of (maintenance and
repair) issues in-theater," Green-hoe said, "and has been
very proactive to see the right kind of training happens here."