1163rd Area Support Medical Company receives medical training

By Pfc. Alexander Hellmann, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Spc. Krishan Williams with the 1163rd Area Support Medical Company practices suturing on a pig’s foot as part of the unit’s pre-mobilization training in Louisville, Ky., April 30, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – As America fights to stave off a virus, at home Soldiers of the 1163rd Area Support Medical Company are preparing for deployment to Poland as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in support of European allies in June 2020.

The 1163rd ASMC was recently activated to support the COVID-19 response in Kentucky, working with several agencies including FEMA, Department of Public Health, Kentucky Emergency Management and local medical communities to set up the state’s first Alternate Care Field Hospital or Alternate Care Facility (ACF) with capabilities to care for 250-2,000 COVID-19 patients.

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“Having the 1163rd to support our home state with the skill sets we have is pretty awesome,” said Maj. Stephanie Fields, commander, 1163rd ASMC.

While on mission at the ACF, the 1163rd ASMC is simultaneously readying themselves for the upcoming mission overseas. Soldiers are receiving medical training in the form of practicing sewing wounds using pigs’ skin and reviewing practices to keep potential casualties breathing and stable.

“During our training for COVID-19, we’ve been able to really get to know each other,” said 1st Lt. Thomas “TJ” Shaddix. “I get to see where Soldiers’ skillsets are. I’m looking forward to training these Soldiers up and help them expand their role.”

Shaddix earned his Bachelor’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University and Master’s at Sullivan University to become a physician assistant.

1st. Lt. Thomas “TJ” Shaddix instructs Spc. Anthony Rummel with the 1163rd Area Support Medical Company on suturing as part of the unit’s pre-mobilization training in Louisville, Ky., April 30, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Raymond)

“As a physician assistant, I will be there to provide roll one and two care, emergency care at point of injury,” said Shaddix. “I’m also the sexual assault, medical forensic examiner for the unit. This will be my second deployment in the medical field,” said Shaddix. “I deployed with the 2123rd Transportation Co. to Afghanistan in 2010 as a medic and now I’m a physician assistant.”

The mission of the 1163rd is to conduct role one and two medical treatment within their area of operation, with capabilities to deploy all equipment required to be a self-sustaining medical facility. This includes everything from field hospital tents, generators, vehicles, communication equipment, to the specialized medical equipment such as ventilators and blood warmers.

“When you think of health care, you get the health care providers and all the high speed equipment, but’s it the logistics that you don’t think about, such has food for patients, beds, monitoring, and transporting,” said Fields. “The headquarters is the sustainment piece, medical logistics that includes vehicle and generator mechanics, signal, and all the Soldiers that keep the hospital running and moving so our physicians can do their job.”

Within four hours of being on site they can receive patients in the hospital as well as have ambulances operational for patient evacuation.

Less than thirty days after the completion of their current COVID-19 domestic operations mission, the 1163rd ASMC will be deployed to assist, protect, and defend NATO allies in Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Pfc. Morgan Ryan, a medic, is a student at The University of Kentucky studying human nutrition and aspires to join the physician’s assistant field during her career.

“I didn’t think I would go on a deployment so quickly, but I’m young and I couldn’t think of a better time and I’m excited,” said Ryan, “We all have the basic understanding that is our job and what we signed up for. We’re the area support medical support company, so whenever we’re called we’re happy to answer.”

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