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28th Combat Support Hospital Conducts Training

U.S. Army Sgt. Rona Ver and members of the Albanian armed forces load a simulated patient into a UH-60 Black Hawk during medevac training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany. (U.S. Army/Ssgt Thomas Duval)
U.S. Army Sgt. Rona Ver and members of the Albanian armed forces load a simulated patient into a UH-60 Black Hawk during medevac training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany. (U.S. Army/Ssgt Thomas Duval)

In less than three days, these medical care providers can set up a fully functional, 44-bed hospital underneath tents to treat soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

From the outside, it appears to be primitive tents linked together. But inside, injured soldiers can be treated for broken bones, receive blood and even go under the knife for emergency surgeries.

"Don't let the looks fool you -- this is a hospital," said. Maj. Jason Naylor, a physician assistant with the 28th Combat Support Hospital.

About 100 soldiers from the 28th Combat Support Hospital, a subordinate unit of the 44th Medical Brigade, participated in a mission readiness exercise Wednesday. The exercise, which is conducted two or three times a year, is a way to mark a unit ready for deployment.

Combat support hospitals are set up downrange to be closer to soldiers in order to provide immediate care.

"It's all about time," Naylor said. "There's certain injuries that no matter what you do, there's not survivability. But there's a lot of injuries, if you address them quickly, the patient can survive."

Naylor deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He remembered treating patients who suffered injuries on their limbs from improvised explosive devices and gunshot wounds.

"To me, I'm just doing my job," he said. "I do my best to bring back America's sons and daughters."

Even the smallest unit plays an important role when these medical care providers are deployed.

Staff Sgt. James Reed, a dental specialist with the 257th Dental Company, explained dental emergencies could -- and do -- happen downrange.

When he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, he said he cared for patients daily. Not being available for ailing soldiers isn't an option, he said.

"We patch you up and get you back to the fight," he said.

Another soldier in the dental unit explained that if a soldier is having dental issues, that could warrant pulling the soldier off the battlefield. Their services ensure soldiers are cared for and can focus on the mission, the dental soldiers said.

Col. Neil Page, commander of the 28th Combat Support Hospital, said he's proud to work from the combat hospitals downrange. He notes that each of the medical care staff -- whether its a surgeon or emergency room nurse -- is licensed by their state and is assigned to one of the Army's hospitals to work from when not deployed.

"Any time you get a casualty, there's a degree of chaos," he said, describing the atmosphere inside the hospital tent. "But the care is exactly the same. The standards are exactly the same.

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