By Loni Witscheber, Triad Contributor
The 21st Combat Support Hospital (CSH) Task Force (TF MED 21),
headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, deployed in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom after training at Fort McCoy's Medical Tactical Training
Base for two weeks in April.
Members of the 21st Combat
Support Hospital assist a detainee role player during training
at McCoy. (Photo by Loni
Maj. Leah M. Eubanks, Army Nurse Corps, 2nd Brigade, 85th
Division, Training Support Battalion (TSB), an exercise officer in
charge, played a major role in coordinating the detainee training for
TF MED 21.
"We made copies of actual paperwork they'll use when
overseas so that they can become familiar with it when they do a
physical assessment," said Eubanks. "The paperwork has the
Arabic translation behind it."
Eubanks said each detainee receives a mental health screening,
as well as a monthly height and weight check so that their health can
be assessed. Along with the paperwork, Eubanks said approximately 200
medical charts were created for infiltration training last year for
the 344th CSH, and subsequently used by TF MED 21. The project
included creating mock Arabic names,
medical histories, and scenarios.
Lt. Col. Danny C. Tye, command surgeon (West Division) for
First U.S. Army and senior observer controller/trainer for TF MED 21,
said the 21st is the first active-duty medical unit to request medical
detainee training at the same location as reserve-component units.
"This is the first active-duty unit deployed from Fort
McCoy with a detainee mission," said Tye. "Fort McCoy is
considered a 'Standard of Excellence' for medical detainee training
and is being identified as the primary location for medical training
in the future, both for the reserve and the active-duty
"TF MED 21, as well as all medical units, provide the same
medical treatment to both detainees and coalition forces," Tye
Col. Jeffrey Clark, commander of TF MED 21 and a family
medicine practitioner, observed the training that the 344th CSH
received last year at Fort McCoy and requested his unit receive the
same detainee preparation.
Members of the 21st
assist a detainee role player during training at McCoy. (Photo
by Loni Witscheber)
"This mission is very important. The way we conduct
ourselves is significant," said Clark. "I can think of no
other place that my troops needed to be at this time."
The unit was divided into two teams due to split-base
operations. Tye said that
while one team was undergoing detainee training at MED TTB, the other
team was conducting Soldier training, such as the Ground Assault
Convoy Lanes Training Exercise and weapons qualifications.
The unit underwent a final mass-casualty exercise before
Col. Timothy Reese, chief nurse for TF MED 21, said the three-
to four-hour mass-casualty exercise consisted of patients moulaged by
Regional Training Site-Medical as both detainees and coalition forces.
"The operating room becomes busy prepping for immediate
urgent-care patients, while the intensive-care units prepare space.
The lab, pharmacy, and administrative staffs are kept busy
throughout the mass-casualty exercise," said Reese.
After-action reports follow the exercise, and Reese said
several questions are discussed to evaluate competency and skill
Who is involved and
what were their roles during the event?
could have been made?
"They take those lessons learned and come up with three
things that worked very well and three things that didn't work so well
-- it's called the 'three ups and three downs,'" said Reese.
"Every section of the hospital will sit together with the
leadership, and someone will facilitate a hospitalwide issue."
TF MED 21 also will undergo the same evaluation process in
Lt. Col. David Sproat, deputy commander for Clinical Services
for the Task Force, said the training at Fort McCoy has prepared the
unit to be ready at all times.
"The training at Fort McCoy has been phenomenal.
The setup detainee play has been very good, especially with
helping our staff understand what kind of precautions they need to
take while still providing the best-possible care to detainees,"
said Sproat. "And the Soldier training was the best training I've
ever received in my Army career."
Lt. Col. Henrietta W. Brown, a registered nurse for TF MED 21,
offers complete comprehensive care to detainees and coalition forces
in the Mental Health sector.
Brown said personnel working in the Mental Health sector are
responsible for a patient's comfort, including talking to the patient,
holding their hand if needed, and offering pain medication.
Master Sgt. Alfred L. Pemberton, chief ward master, said the
training at Fort McCoy prepared TF MED 21 for its mission down range.
"Training at Fort McCoy got us away from the usual wards,
setups, and equipment," said Pemberton. "Normal medical
equipment can be used as a weapon in theatre."
"Training has been very beneficial.
The facility was run very well by staff without detainees, but
once the detainee role players were added, the training at Fort McCoy
just increased our awareness and ability to see what we do and how we
have to modify it in a different environment," said Lt. Col.
Nancy Robles-Stokes, assistant chief nurse for TF MED 21.
The purpose here is to train so that people become instinctive
in their reactions, said Eubanks.
(Witscheber is a public affairs specialist
for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base