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News | Feb. 2, 2014

Keeping it clean: Joint Task Force-Bravo members train for field sanitation

By U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) taught a field sanitation team certification course to 25 soldiers from the Joint Security Forces, the Army Forces Battalion, the Medical Element, and the 1-228th Aviation Regiment here, Jan. 27-31.

"This course has been given several times over the last few months and the material can be a little dry, but the content is very important. We try to give some more practical hands-on training besides just classroom instruction," said U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Tedesco, a preventive medicine technician assigned to MEDEL and one of the instructors for the course. "The students were very good at participation and seemed to learn firsthand what will be expected of them by their units."

The field sanitation team certification course (FST) covers subjects including medical threats to soldiers in the field, hygiene, preventative medicine, how to establish and maintain a water supply in the field, how food should be managed in the field and how to keep food service sanitary, insects and their diseases, rodent management, heat and cold injuries, and how to maintain control of hazardous waste.

The students are required to take an exam to pass the class, but they also go through some hands on training as well. This includes inspecting, cleaning, and filling a 400 gallon water trailer, as well as other water treatment options while in the field, and how to use a 2-gallon sprayer to prevent insect problems.

"This course was really good and it was interesting training. I will need to keep practicing the skills that I learned so I can support my unit," said U.S. Army Spc. Sydney Stankee, a fueler assigned to the Army Forces Battalion and a student in the course. "The hands-on training was the best part and the most significant because having drinkable water is always important and knowing how to protect soldiers from bugs and the diseases they spread is also very important."

MEDEL has taught the MST course three times to U.S. military personnel and an additional three times for the Honduran military in the last seven months.

MEDEL has also provided medical care to more than 3,500 Hondurans in the last six months. MEDEL provides preventative medical care, wellness check-ups, dental care, preventative dental care, surgical care, and physical therapy through local partnerships in Comayagua and through Medical Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) which are carried out on a weekly basis.