[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 11, 2008
Mobilization

HVAC official observes demob 
of 325th CSH at Fort McCoy

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

      The health care that Soldiers get upon separation from military service is of the utmost importance as demonstrated by a visit to the Fort McCoy Soldier Readiness Center from Geoff Bestor, the Democratic (Majority) Staff Director of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Photo: HVAC Democratic (Majority) Staff Director of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Geoff Bestor addresses demobilizing personnel from the 325th Combat Support Hospital as Maj. Gen. David Blackledge observes. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Carl Childs )
HVAC Democratic (Majority) Staff Director of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Geoff Bestor addresses demobilizing personnel from the 325th Combat Support Hospital as Maj. Gen. David Blackledge observes. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Carl Childs )

      Bestor came from his Washington, D.C. office and was accompanied by Maj. Gen. David Blackledge, assistant deputy chief of staff for mobilization and reserve affairs, and Lt. Col. Richard Root, U.S. Army legislative liaison.

      The trio were briefed by Maj. Mary Tomko, SRC officer-in-charge, visited with demobilizing Soldiers from the 325th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) and talked with Garrison Commander Col. David Chesser and Deputy for Mobilization Col. Bas Oskam.

      Bestor came to Fort McCoy specifically because the 325th CSH is one of several demobilizing units in a VA test program.

      Bestor observed the demob process at Fort McCoy to help address his concern about the Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214) serving as the primary documentation of military service. That piece of paper, and more recently that form also on Army and VA computer files, is the single most important document a military servicemember receives upon separation from service, Bestor said. It is explicitly required for registration for benefits through the VA. Getting that information transferred to the VA is one of Bestor's priorities.

      Parallel -- along with the DD 214 --  is the medical information documentation process for Soldiers.

      According to Root, "Mr. Bestor articulated at the conclusion of the visit that it was a good dialogue and discussion on the topics.

      This provided him with insights to the challenges of the demobilization process."

      Root also said they saw the post-mobilization care for Soldiers and how the VA is an interactive part of the demobilization process.

      Integral to that is reserve-component Soldiers receive support from the Army and VA, with the Soldiers' first visit to the VA occurring within 120 days of demobilization.

      Fort McCoy Mobilization Operations NCOIC Sgt. 1st Class Carl Childs said after the VA representative's visit, "The VA doesn't want to miss anybody needing information or assistance."

      Childs also noted Bestor's desire to have VA personnel check in with units and individual members of every branch of military service following separation from active duty and also that individuals immediately register with their local county veterans service officer.

      "It's all about taking care of Soldiers."

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

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