DVIDS – News – Super Soldiers! Army Combat Fitness Test team primes Alaska Guardsmen for physical fitness excellence


JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The year is 2020 and with each new month comes a plethora of changes for civilian and military personnel alike. Policies and regulations fresh off the press come with the morning cup of coffee and Soldiers across the country adjust and adapt to meet their mission. Despite this ever-changing landscape, Soldiers can look to one steadfast constant: the Army’s standards for superior combat readiness.

True to the year’s theme, this autumn brings yet another development. This season, Soldiers of the Alaska Army National Guard will find themselves in the first testing cycle of the Army’s newest method for evaluating a Soldier’s combat capability, the Army Combat Fitness Test. For this transition, Soldiers depend on the Alaska Army National Guard’s own Army Combat Fitness Test team, led by Capt. Jessica Miller, the ACFT coordinator. The ACFT team has a total of five members, each with a range of experience in health and fitness. Following in suit, Miller is a registered nurse and Master Fitness Trainer course alum.

“The ACFT is very different from the APFT,” said Miller, referring to the Army Physical Fitness Test which has been completely phased out as of Sept. 30. “Everything from the surface requirements to the equipment involved, the ACFT is a more physically challenging test.”

In an effort to transform the Army’s fitness culture, the ACFT incorporates movements and exercises a Soldier would apply while out in the field. Soldiers will find themselves contending with challenging new tests such as the sprint-drag-carry and standing power throw hand release. The ACFT team has been facilitating and assisting Soldiers for over a year in training for the heightened standards.

“Alaska is unique in that we have several units spread all over the state, many of which are not accessible by road,” Miller explained, “and our team has strategized how to best implement this test to maximize efficiency. Although we’ve made decisions, like identifying testing locations and future construction plans, this test is still evolving and we have to be flexible.”

Instituting changes during the COVID-19 climate has presented the team with some significant obstacles. Training facilities, fitness equipment and education were needed to ensure a successful testing season.

“COVID-19 has brought unique challenges and it has affected almost every aspect of the ACFT implementation,” said Miller. “Safety is of the utmost importance and we have been very thoughtful about how to best ensure our Soldiers are prepared.”

To meet social distancing guidelines, the team organized virtual meetings and workout sessions for Soldiers stationed in the eight locations throughout the state that received the equipment and training required to meet the testing criteria.

State Command Sgt. Maj. James Nyquist, a regular participant in ACFT training, witnessed for himself the team’s efforts to ensure the test’s execution was in accordance with the Army’s new standards for “building physical lethality and mental toughness.”

“The ACFT team has done an outstanding job in facilitating and taking on the projects related to the test,” said Nyquist.

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DVIDS – News – BACH Process Improvement team receives coveted Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award


FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – A team of Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians were formally recognized Oct. 21 for their innovative process-improvement initiative that streamlined patient access to behavioral health resources enhancing patient outcomes and medical readiness.

U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle and Army Medicine Chief of Staff and Chief of the Army Medical Department Civilian Corps Mr. Richard Beauchemin presented a team from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the coveted Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award during a virtual award ceremony.

“You all should be extremely pleased because there are a lot of entries that go in for the Wolf Pack Award and for you all to receive this extreme honor speaks volumes about the impact you and the entire team are having not just on the installation there, but in the entire United States Army,” said Dingle, over a virtual teleconference.

Created by the 43rd Army Surgeon General and the fourth AMEDD Civilian Corps Chief, the Wolf Pack Award is issued quarterly and recognizes exceptional teamwork by an integrated group of military and civilian team members focused on excellence in support of Army Medicine.

BACH’s team was recognized for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 for their efforts to better incorporate the hospital’s behavioral health consultants within the hospital’s primary care clinics to enhance patient outcomes and medical readiness. During the initiative, internal behavioral health consultants were assigned to each of BACH’s medical homes, where beneficiaries receive their primary medical care. Consultants support healthy behavior changes such as increasing exercise, decreasing work or home stress, quitting smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure management, and weight management. They also help patients develop plans for improving sleep, managing diabetes, managing chronic pain, migraine management, and modifying alcohol use. Prior to the process improvement project, which began in 2018, their services were underutilized.

“Having behavioral health consultants within our primary care clinics is a great benefit for all enrolled beneficiaries to receive behavioral health support, whether immediately following a primary care visit or scheduled at a later time,” said Col. Patrick T. Birchfield, hospital commander. “This system makes the referral process easy for both the patient and the medical team.”

The behavioral health consultants operate within primary care treatment teams, offering behavioral interventions, counseling, and various treatment modalities and work hand-in-hand with primary care teams to improve a patient’s overall health and quality of life.

BACH’s project focused on four main areas: increasing referrals, improving integration into a holistic model of care, increasing self-referral appointments and warm hand-off of patients to behavioral health consultants, and removing barriers to referring patients.

The project more than doubled the number of face-to-face clinical encounters per day and decreased the patient no-show rate by 15 percent. The team instituted multiple revisions and changes that enhanced the overall patient-centered medical experience, and streamlined patient access for numerous behavioral health needs including reformulating their methods as a result of the pandemic.

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DVIDS – News – Task Force Illini Soldiers prepare for the new Army fitness test


LVIV, Ukraine – On Oct. 1, the implementation stage of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) began as the Army replaces the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to assess Soldier fitness. Task Force Illini Soldiers are preparing for the new standards while deployed.

Prior to October 2020, Soldiers were required to take the 3-event APFT. The APFT included two-minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. Participants were scored on the number of repetitions they completed against standards for their age and gender. Soldiers will not be required to take the ACFT for a record score until 2022.

The ACFT, now in its implementation stage, is the Army’s new 6-event test including a three-repetition maximum deadlift, a standing power throw, hand release push-ups, a sprint-drag-carry, leg tucks, and a two-mile run. The Army determined these events will better serve to gauge a Soldier’s physical readiness to complete basic Soldier tasks and perform to the classification of their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) regardless of age and gender.

The scoring classifications for the ACFT are, in ascending score order: “moderate,” which includes occupations such as Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic and Unit Supply Specialist; “significant,” for occupations like Health Care Specialist and Human Resource Specialist; and “heavy” for occupations such as Cavalry Scout and Motor Transport Operator.

“I think it’s a good comprehensive assessment of someone’s fitness. I think it is going to be a challenge for unit leaders to implement. It will be a rough start, but I am optimistic that we’ll get past the learning curve,” said Capt. Jonathon Gosa, a Task Force Illini Brigade Fires Advisor from East Moline, Illinois.

Though Task Force Illini Soldiers are not currently required to take the ACFT during their deployment, but many members are still using their time to prepare themselves for the test.

“I’m getting in better shape for the new ACFT. As a junior non-commissioned officer, I can’t expect my Soldiers to do anything I can’t do myself,” said Cpl. Cody Gaboriault, an Artillery Repairer from Creve Couer, Illinois.

Soldiers said they are looking forward to challenging themselves to complete the new ACFT events, and they have noted what they need to work most on.

“The sprint-drag-carry seems like the most endurance heavy event. It will be a test of mental and physical strength,” said Sgt. Dayna Brown, an Automated Logistics Specialist from Decatur, Illinois.

The deadlift seems to be the event most Task Force Illini Soldiers are looking forward to. The event requires a Soldier to deadlift between 140 and 340 pounds depending on their physical requirement classification.

“I’m excited for deadlifting because it’s already a part of my workout routine,” said Spc. Gianna Polizzi, Supply Specialist and Chicago resident. “I think the ACFT will be beneficial for those who already love strength training and for those who want to get into it more.”

Task Force Illini is the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible

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DVIDS – News – Aerospace Medicine Implements Return to Flight Duty Status Guidelines for Aircrew Affected by COVID-19


As much of the military works to maintain readiness in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Aerospace medicine providers are working to implement a guideline with a set of return to flight duty status protocols. The guideline describes how Service members who are in a ‘down’ flight status may safely return to an ‘up’ flight status after close contact or contracting COVID-19.

These protocols were developed in response to Navy and Marine Corps Aerospace Medicine COVID-19 cases and are promulgated to synchronize the community’s approach to medical evaluation when returning aircrew to flight duty status. The protocols within the guideline are reviewed biweekly to incorporate the most updated national guidelines and current published research.

“The return to flight duty status guideline is critical to maintaining operational readiness amongst our aircrew and return them safely to the cockpit,” said CDR Allen Hoffman, Branch Head of Aerospace Medicine Programs at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

These protocols provide a basic framework for our squadron flight surgeons who will also use their sound clinical judgement when comprehensively evaluating each patient. The guideline details step by step how aircrew can return to flight duty status if they are determined to have contracted the virus or had close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19.

“There are important clinical criteria for aerospace providers to follow if aircrew contracts COVID-19. For example, it is imperative that the provider follow-up with the infected individual once they have recovered to determine if they have optimal respiratory function and returned to a the physical fitness level necessary to safely operate in the flight environment,” said CDR Hoffman.

To know whether affected aircrew are able to safely operate an aircraft, they must meet set physical standards during a series of tests, including a physical exercise tolerance test. Some of those tests help determine if there are still any remaining functionally limiting damage caused by COVID-19.

“The medical evaluation and information in the guidance will ensure our aircrew are ready to fly after contracting COVID-19. Their health and safety is our first and foremost mission in supporting the warfighter,” said CDR Hoffman.

The official guidance will be published in the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute’s, Aerospace Reference and Waiver Guide by mid-November.

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

For more information about Navy Medicine, visit www.med.navy.mil





Date Taken: 10.20.2020
Date Posted: 10.20.2020 15:19
Story ID: 381341
Location: FALLS CHURCH, VA, US 




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DVIDS – News – Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process


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

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