103rd Medical Airmen train readiness, interoperability at East Central Georgia IRT
By Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker, 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs, Bradley Air National Guard Base
/ Published June 21, 2019
WAYNESBORO, Ga. --
As the sun rose over the fields of East Central Georgia, Airmen from the 103rd Medical Group, along with members of the Air Force Reserve and Navy Reserve and active duty support, opened five clinics across the region to provide no-cost medical services to underserved communities June 15-22, 2019.
The clinics are part of East Central Georgia Innovative Readiness Training, or IRT, a training event sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. The Air Force Reserve led multi-service training coordinated with Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission in Augusta, Ga.
The IRT builds on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense to meet training and readiness requirements for Active, Guard, and Reserve service members and units while addressing community health needs.
“Members are able to practice their skills in a real-world setting that help Americans in need,” said Capt. Craig Diederich, 103rd Medical Group health services administrator and East Central Georgia IRT mission deputy. “When they come to an IRT, they’re able to put their skills into action and simulate what the environment would be like during a deployment.”
Clinics were set up in schools in Warren, Hancock, Louisville, and Burke counties and a senior center in Glascock County. Services included optometry, dental, podiatry, nutrition, and a meeting with a doctor. Participating units conducted critical mission training and logistical movement in order to maintain readiness.
“I think that’s one of the biggest reasons people join the Guard: they want to serve their communities,” said Senior Airman Kayla Katt, 103rd Medical Group aerospace medical technician. “Coming here and learning the culture and meeting people is a great opportunity, especially for junior enlisted members.”
“To know that this is a medically underserved community, providing whatever resources we can to give back to them and take care of our own citizens has been the most rewarding thing for me,” said Staff Sgt. Precious Baker, 103rd Medical Group public health technician. “I think it’s great that the different components can collaborate on such a high level and make this mission happen.”
Participants completed clinical operations having obtained critical readiness skills from the unique training environment of the IRT.
“The biggest takeaway would be working with different career fields in different branches, setting up a clinic from scratch and taking it back down, and all of the operations that go with it,” said Baker. “These are items that I wouldn’t necessarily see at my level, but those items are a responsibility for everyone on this mission.”
“It’s awesome to meet people from around the country knowing that we’re all coming together for one mission,” said Katt. “The people you work with and the people you help make everything worthwhile.