‘Broncos’ host open house for health care providers

| April 16, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Maj. Cathy Wilkinson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The air was filled with the sounds of people struggling into heavy, armored vests, picking up weapons, climbing into trucks and talking on the radio.

While you would expect to see this scene in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is not a common sight in F Quad, where the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, hosted an open house, April 5. 

A Soldier from 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, explains to a Schofield Barracks Health Clinic provider how to fire the M2 machine gun during an open house held by the brigade, April 5. The brigade hosted the open house to thank clinic staff for taking good care of Soldiers, help them gain a better understanding of what Soldiers do and explain to them the types of stresses a Soldiers’ body goes through while performing military jobs.The people putting on military equipment, climbing into trucks and firing weapons were not Soldiers; they were health care providers from the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic. 

The Bronco Brigade hosted the open house to thank clinic staff for taking good care of Soldiers, help them gain a better understanding of what Soldiers do and explain to them the types of stresses a Soldiers’ body goes through while performing military jobs.

“What do Soldiers do? They shoot, move, communicate, eat and sleep,” said Col. David Snodgrass, the brigade’s deputy commanding officer, while addressing a group of about 110 health care providers as he split the group into five smaller sections. 

The groups spent the next two hours rotating between a series of stations designed to show the medical professionals some basic aspects of military life. The stations allowed the providers to try on body armor and protective equipment; climb into the gunner’s turret of a Humvee; pick up heavy, crew-served weapons; fire blank rounds from an M4 carbine; talk on a military radio; tour a Soldier’s barracks room; and learn how medics on the battlefield treat simulated urgently wounded Soldiers. 

“I didn’t know anything about the military before coming here today,” said Ranna Like, a certified nursing assistant, as she explained that she didn’t have any family or friends in the military. “This is a great insight, seeing what the Soldiers go through.” 

“This will definitely help me with my job. We see a lot of Soldiers with back and knee problems, and now I can understand how they get injured,” Like added. “This has been a lot of fun; it almost makes me want to join the Army.”

“I didn’t think the open house was going to be so important to me,” said Elaine Maher, a social worker. “I’m having an emotional reaction. I’ve worked with Soldiers for years, but I’ve never touched their equipment or put it on. This is excellent.” 

Maher explained that health care providers can sometimes distance themselves from Soldiers’ daily life, but the open house put them in direct contact with it. She said the open house will help her provide better care in the future because she gained a more complete understanding of the Soldiers’ lives.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to understand what Soldiers do … it helps us provide better medical care,” said Col. Michael Brumage, clinic director. “Our staff is mostly civilian. Having them have this type of exposure is really valuable.” 

“To have the kind of partnership with a line unit like 3rd Brigade is incredible. I’ve never experienced anything as good as this in my 20-year career,” Brumage added. 

He also explained the benefits the open house and new programs the clinic and brigade have developed to improve the quality of life for Soldiers. 

The brigade and health clinic have recently partnered on advanced mental health resiliency training, and another program improves crosstalk between a Soldier’s military leadership, a medical case manager and other civilian agencies on post who provide care and assistance for Soldiers.

The open house ended with a panel discussion between the clinic’s leaders and the brigade and battalion command teams.

Category: News

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