Fort McCoy News June 13, 2014

Navy corpsmen train in Army field sanitation course

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Navy corpsmen from the Det. 1, Bulk Fuel Company B, 6th Engineering Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group (MLG) of Green Bay, Wis., gained a big dose of preventative-medicine education while training in a 40-hour field sanitation course at Fort McCoy's Regional Training Site (RTS)-Medical complex recently.

Phot 1 for sanitation article
Aimee Carrington, an instructor at Fort McCoy's Regional Training Site-Medical, teaches students in the field sanitation training course about the importance of food handling and service while deployed.

The course, taught about twice monthly, identifies proper sanitation tactics, techniques and procedures to maintain healthy living for troops deployed to encampments in austere locations.

"Field sanitation techniques really came into play during World War II where we learned ways of preventing disease and maintaining healthier living conditions for deployed troops," said course instructor Dave Meyer.

Navy corpsmen are medical assistants who assist Navy doctors and dentists in their procedures, and perform field procedures, perform injections, clinical tests and clerical work associated with medical records. Corpsmen from the 4th MLG can add practicing and teaching proper field sanitation and hygiene to that list.

"We will be deploying for training with our unit soon, so this training is timely," said 4th MLG Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class John Christian. "In the course we've learned more on some things we've trained on before, but we've also learned many new things.

"Our training here will help us point out things that are wrong and help keep our Marines healthy," Christian said.

The Sailors had numerous blocks of instruction and hands-on training in field sanitation practices involving areas of food and water treatment and safety, as well as identifying potential medical threats.

Photo 2 for field sanitation article
U.S. Navy corpsmen learn how to reset a thermometer for food preparation.

"Some students might come to this training thinking all they are going to learn about is the proper handling, set up and operation of latrines," Meyer said. "When they are done, they have a whole different perspective because they learn about the water treatment, food safety and even pest control. All of what we teach lends to good, sound preventative-medicine practices."

Meyer teaches the course with fellow instructor Aimee Carrington.

"This course is essentially a preventative medicine course for small units who don't have the ability to have a larger preventative medicine team to manage these different tasks," Meyer said.

"When the students leave here, we want them to have a strong understanding in field sanitation practices."

Hospitalman Samuel Livingston, also from the 4th MLG, said the training was very beneficial.

"This instruction will really help prepare us for what we do, and we can share what we learn with others," Livingston said.

Another corpsmen from the 4th MLG, Hospitalman Chad Wolding, said the training will be useful in many situations.

"In addition to this training coming just in time prior to us going to the field, it also will help us in the long run for everything else we do," Wolding said. "This is definitely good training."

At the end of the course, the Sailors had to pass a course completion test to earn certification, Meyer said. Once certified, they are then ready to go practice what they've learned in the field.

"We always want our students to be as prepared as they can be," Meyer said.

The 4th MLG is a Marine Corps Reserve unit headquartered in New Orleans, La. Navy corpsmen who attended the course are enlisted men and women who work in hospitals, on ships and in the field working to treat injured and sick Sailors and Marines.

RTS-Medical is a training platform for the medical warfighting function, said Gerry Meyer, RTS-Medical administrative officer. It provides and supports a variety of individual- and section-level medical skills sustainment training and unit-level collective training at Fort McCoy.