FORT POLK, La. –
Soldiers assigned to Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital participated in a field training exercise called BJACH Forge Oct. 28-30 at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. The training was designed to optimize readiness by testing Soldiers on their warrior tasks and battle drills.
Col. Aristotle Vaseliades, BJACH Commander, said the motto at JRTC is: Forging the Warrior Spirit; making Forge a fitting name for the inaugural field training exercise that was recently conducted. This will be a biannual event for military medical Soldiers assigned to the hospital.
“If a medic, doctor, nurse or any other medical professional cannot first survive on the battlefield performing basic Soldier tasks they will not be able to provide the definitive medical care needed to support the war fighter,” he said. “Just as line units go to the field for periods of time to conduct training away from garrison activities, we conducted our training after hours and on Saturday without impacting our responsibilities to our BJACH beneficiaries.”
Maj. Rayson Evbuomwan, chief of the patient administration division, said every Soldier assigned to the hospital participated.
“The training was designed to assess our warrior tasks,” he said. “We practiced evaluating and evacuating casualties, reacting to enemy fire and requesting medical evacuation.”
Evbuomwan said during the exercise they completed night and day land navigation courses and conducted chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training.
“The Department of the Army requires enlisted personnel and officers to be Soldiers first and foremost,” he said. “It is critical in today’s modern warfare that we are proficient in our basic soldiering skills.”
Sgt. Jacob Phelps, licensed practical nurse in the mixed medical surgical ward, said his first experience in the Army was with a field unit.
“The Forge helped to build relationships, trust in others and confidence in self by providing training on necessary Soldier tasks,” he said. “This exercise put some of us in situations that we haven’t seen since basic training and it brought back our ‘Soldier First’ mentality."
Phelps said the events he participated in provided insight into the skills necessary to earn the Expert Field Medical Badge, which he called the gold standard of achievement for service members in the medical field.
“Knowing and maintaining our basic fundamental skills helps to build trust and mutual understanding with our fellow Soldiers,” he said. “Doing events like the Forge help to strengthen the organization by reminding us we are all on the same page, working toward the same goals.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Shavonda Devereaux, senior enlisted advisor to the hospital commander, said medical Soldiers are part of the war fighting function.
“We are expected to shoot our weapon to engage the enemy with proficiency and perform our jobs in austere environments,” she said. “Almost every job that we do in the hospital can be done in a field environment. This means we have to get sets and reps in a training environment that is as realistic as possible. BJACH Forge, allowed us to train on those skills and determine the areas we need to improve upon.”
Devereaux said our doctors, nurses and clinical staff joined in on the training.
“Our medical providers are also Soldiers with a particular skill set that allows them to treat and take care of the ill and injured; equipped and expertly trained to deploy at a moment’s notice,” she said. “To have a medically ready force, we must first be a ready medical force. We accomplish this by ensuring Army Medicine is ready, reformed, reorganized, responsive, and relevant.”