Warrior medics with the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and the 115th Field Hospital, 32nd Hospital Center, deployed from Fort Polk, Louisiana, in support of Task Force Evacuare, operating in the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR).
In March, the planned deployment of 30,000 Army troops to Europe for April and May’s Defender-Europe 20 exercises was halted at 6,000 personnel because of the pandemic.
CENTCOM’s AOR covers 20 nations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the strategic waterways that surround them.
The 115th Field Hospital was created in March 2019 after the 115th Central Support Hospital was reorganized under the 32nd Hospital Center/1st Medical Brigade. The 115th FH is one of two organizations under the 32nd HC and consists of four companies.
The Headquarters Company, led by Capt. Kyle McClure and 1st Sgt. Kevin Bross; The 190th Medical Detachment (Intermediate Care Ward Augment), led by Capt. Jennifer Schock and Sgt. Jacob Hood; The 286th Medical Detachment (Surgical Augment), led by Maj. Deanna Andrews and Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Mateo and the 433rd Medical Detachment (Medical Augment), led by Capt. Freddy Morocho and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Bostic.
The Hospital Center’s role is to deploy in order to provide mission command for up to two functioning field hospitals within the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR).
In concert, the Field hospital will deploy in order to provide hospitalization and outpatient services to all classes of patients in the AOR.
The Medical detachment deploys to augment the capabilities of the field hospital with thoracic, urology, oral maxillofacial surgical capabilities, additional intensive care unit beds, outpatient services and microbiology.
The Surgical detachment deploys to augment the field hospital with operational dental care, one additional ICU ward, one intermediate care ward, additional microbiology capabilities and outpatient services.
Finally, the Intermediate care ward detachment: Augments the field hospital as required with three wards providing intermediate nursing care and additional personnel to support nutrition and patient administration capabilities.
The change was made ‘to convert all combat support hospital units into five distinct hospital and hospital-related capabilities and forward surgical teams into a new deployable force that may be split into two 10-person resuscitative and surgical elements … to enhance combatant commander flexibility and deliver optimal health service support to the operational force.’, according to the Forces Command executive order made on June 26, 2018.
Army Col. Lee Burnett, the commander of the 32nd HC, spoke at the May 6 deployment ceremony.
“Today you head overseas to support our fellow soldiers and civilians as they endeavor to provide peace and security,” Col. Burnett said, noting that the soldiers completed months of deployment preparation in just a matter of weeks.
Burnett specifically highlighted the leadership shown by Army Lt. Col. Jason Marquart and Army Sgt.1st Class Erik Regalado of the 115th Field Hospital.
“When this mission came down, they both immediately stepped forward and took on this challenge,” he said. “Every day, they put their soldiers and mission first. I am thankful we have such professional leaders and rest easy knowing our soldiers are guided by this stellar team.”
Burnett also recognized the 1st Medical Brigade, the JRTC and Fort Polk for their unwavering support and laser focus on the task force’s success.
Burnett said Marquart’s proven track record is why Forces Command has recognized the 115th FH as the most-trained and ready hospital in the Army.
“That’s why FORSCOM went to us first for Hurricane Dorian response, first for [Kosovo Force], and now first for CENTCOM — and not for just one task force, but two,” he continued. “That’s unheard of. I cannot think of any other unit that has taken on more missions in more locations.”
Lt. Col. Jason Marquart, the commander of the 115th FH, said the team not only would not only be supporting service members, but also would be doing battle with COVID-19 — a new enemy they’ve never seen before.
“Fortunately, we have highly trained medical people in our Army that are always ready and willing, so this deployment is a good opportunity to take these people and combine them in a time of need, just like we would do here in the United States,” Marquart said. “We will provide excellent care for anyone who needs it.”
The 115th FH is unique in that many of the officers are assigned to hospitals throughout the United States to keep up their technical skills. The augmentees for the current deployment come from San Antonio and from Fort Gordon, Georgia.”When the time comes, these individuals, within 72 hours, left their homes, moved here and were prepared to go,” Marquart said. “With the help of the team here at Fort Polk, they were completely mission-ready in a short time. This is truly a rapid deployment.”
Ft. Polk is known for the motto, “Forging the Warrior Spirit” and these warrior medics certainly should be proud to have been trained at a base with some of the harshest conditions in the country, especially during the summer, but also one of the most beautiful in the state that claims to be a ‘sportsman’s paradise’.