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Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process | Article

By Kirk FradyOctober 20, 2020

SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community across the European theater. At the same time, Army health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for tracking COVID cases.According to Army health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured over the past several months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leadership an overall picture of how the epidemic is impacting the DOD population in Europe.“There are multiple mechanisms and systems in place to ensure senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly notified about positive COVID cases,” said Col. Scott Mower, force health protection officer for Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have grown better over time and we are continuously searching for ways to further improve them.”“The reporting of this critical information through operational channels allows senior Army leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to force health protection of the overall military population.”Army health officials emphasize that maintaining close relations with the host nation medical offices is critical.“The Departments of Public Health and the Public Health Emergency Officers at RHCE clinics are at the tip of the spear in executing these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “The PHEOs work closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate fashion. They also immediately alert installation leadership when new cases are discovered.”“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be inputted into an electronic disease reporting system just like other serious communicable diseases of public health interest,” said Mower. “The bulk of the COVID reporting work is being done by MTFs and their Departments of Public Health. They are the true worker bees in executing this mission.”Reporting COVID cases to German health authorities is handled at the local level by each of the respective Army health clinics.“Army medical treatment facilities from each respective military community across the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German Public Health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr. Robert Weien, public health emergency officer for U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz. “Here in Rhineland-Pfalz, we submit our reports to the local German Public Health Department on a daily basis.”When it comes to COVID reporting processes across the theater, there is no one size fits all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr.) Jon Allison, chief of preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.“The reporting process and timelines vary from installation to installation depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” said Allison. “For example, the COVID-19 total positive numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly base with the assistance of the community health nurses.”Allison says that one of the benefits of Germany’s decentralized local health

Longer Armor training span showing gains in skills, lethality, fitness, of tank crews, cavalry scouts | Article

Fort Benning Public AffairsFORT BENNING, Ga. – When Soldiers just out of Armor training are sent to the Army's tank and scout forces, they'll arrive more fully trained, more lethal with their weapons, and more physically fit, officials in charge of their training say in a recent video.The gains in skill, lethality and fitness have come about because the Army lengthened Armor One-Station Unit Training, or Armor OSUT, to 22 weeks, say the officials, who are senior leaders in the 194th Armored Brigade, which produced the video. The longer training span began last fall.The brigade is part of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence here, and trains the Army's tank crew members, known by their Army job code of 19 Kilo, and cavalry scouts, coded 19 Delta.Armor OSUT for armor crewmen had been 15 weeks long. For cavalry scouts it had been 17 weeks."When we look at the different conditions, or I should say considerations, of lethality: mental, physical toughness, vehicle proficiency, and field craft and discipline, we've been able to increase not only the rigor but we've also been able to increase the proficiency, especially on vehicle platforms," Col. Dawson A. Plummer, the brigade's commander, says in the video.Among training gains that benefit Armor crewmen and cavalry scouts alike, according to the video, are:• Time to be trained and certified in the Army's Combat Lifesaver Course• Training and certification in basic hand-to-hand fighting skills known as Level 1 Combatives• Greater lethality through more extensive weapons training• Higher physical fitness levels through a greater number of fitness sessions using the Army's rigorous Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT.• More time for learning use of map and compass, known as land navigation• More field training that hones basic battlefield skillsIn addition, for Armor crewmen, the longer OSUT is affording more thorough training in:• Driving the M1 Abrams tank• Preventive maintenance of the tank• Tank gunneryFor cavalry scouts, the extended OSUT also allows for:• A chance to get familiar with all three of the combat vehicles they might eventually be assigned to work with: the eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicle, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and humvee• Basic preventive maintenance of combat vehicles• Use of radioFor Armor crewmen, the transition to a longer OSUT means Soldiers are trained beyond mere familiarity, to proficiency, Lt. Col. Nathaniel B. Davis, commander of the brigade's 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, says in the video."The intent behind the transition is to change from where we had been producing Armor crewmen who were familiar as drivers, loaders and gunners, to ones that are competent and proficient as drivers and loaders, familiar as gunners, and ready to contribute at their first unit of assignment," Davis says."As we made the transition from 15- to 22-week OSUT, we focused our efforts on a number of key areas: increasing maintenance tasks, increasing gunnery skills training and testing, increasing the amount and rigor of field training, and increasing the amount and rigor of driver training," Davis says.Driver training has increased "significantly," he says."This has