[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     April 08, 2011

RTS-Medical provides training to meet current, future needs

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Regional Training Site (RTS)-Medical is observing 20 years of service at Fort McCoy. Its goals are to provide current medical training needed for missions, including deployment, and to continue to provide relevant unit and Soldier training in the future.

PHOTO: Regional Training Site-Medical students from the 2nd, 137th Infantry train on combat life-saver skills. Photo by Rob Schuette
Regional Training Site-Medical students from the 2nd, 137th Infantry train on combat life-saver skills.

Lt. Col. Brad Richardson, the RTS-Medical site director, said the organization is positioning itself to be an expeditionary force as Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff, advocated in a speech to the Association of the United States Army earlier this year.

The organization strives to train medical personnel to provide needed support services to victims of both natural and manmade disasters/emergencies, such as the responses to Hurricane Katrina and the earthquakes and/or tsunamis in Haiti and Japan. Richardson said the training also includes biomedical maintenance to keep the equipment in top operating condition.

“In these instances, medical personnel in fixed hospitals couldn’t handle all the medical needs of an emergency,” Richardson said. “So you set up in structures as mobile support hospitals. This is so-called ‘tail-gate medicine.’”

Richardson said the RTS-Medical expeditionary mindset goes hand-in-hand with the Fort McCoy Garrison Command Group’s vision of the future of military training in the next few years. Military medical personnel would come to Fort McCoy to prepare and obtain premobilization training, much like they do at Regional Training Center-Central and for the Combat Support Training Exercise and Warrior Exercise (WAREX).

RTS-Medical will continue to increase its participation in homeland security exercises, such as the Red Dragon exercise, he said.

PHOTO: Students attending a Regional Training Site-Medical biomedical class learn about maintenance procedures for the most-current equipment. Photo by Rob Schuette
Students attending a Regional Training Site-Medical biomedical class learn about maintenance procedures for the most-current equipment.

Red Dragon training focuses on responding to a manmade emergency and supporting civilian agencies responding to a chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear and/or a high-yield explosive disaster scenario.

New this year will be its participation in WAREX, Richardson said. WAREX trains Army Reserve units in collective Army Warrior Tasks and helps prepare the units for training/deployment as part of the Army Force Generation model.

Medical personnel can complement care available at fixed-structure hospitals in emergencies by offering quick medical, dental and preventive services, he said. Military personnel also can help coordinate government resources at the federal, state and local level to support disaster assistance.

“We are trying to increase our capabilities for the current and future warfight,” Richardson said. “This entails supporting customers in our 17-state region to the best of our ability.”

RTS-Medical attempts to obtain and incorporate into its training the latest equipment, or representative samples of that equipment, including that being used in-theater, he said. That will be critical in a time of an expected decline in military funding, he said, and helps establish RTS-Medical as the training site where the most-current medical equipment is available for medical personnel to train on.

“We are aiming to be a purple (multi-component) training organization, offering training to all military medical personnel,” he said. “We have Navy and Army Reserve medical personnel training here. Because we have many National Guard units throughout Wisconsin, we’re looking at attracting more National Guard medical personnel or units to train at Fort McCoy.”

RTS-Medical offers one-stop training in its medical complex of buildings in the 10000 block area. This allows units to conduct all their training in the area, reduces travel time and minimizes distractions.

Richardson said the latest field is medical communications, where medical personnel have patient records available electronically, online.

Among the current staples of RTS-Medical training are training with X-ray equipment and sterilizers, he said. RTS-Medical also offers pharmacy laboratory training and training with other medical equipment currently used during deployment. The future will include training with CAT scan equipment, he said.

RTS-Medical continues to increase its training load. Almost 8,200 personnel trained in training year 2010, and the organization is on pace to exceed 9,000 personnel trained in training year 2011.

Richardson said the training includes medical exercises, such as Global Medic, which exercises the functional operational readiness of assigned medical units in a joint and coalition training environment.

For more information about RTS-Medical training, call 608-388-2544.

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