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Army Chief of Staff, Sgt. Maj. of Army visit JBSA-Fort Sam Houston

By Sgt. John Onuoha | U.S. Army North Public Affairs | April 24, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Military personnel assigned and augmenting units at Joint Base San Antonio showcased an array of capabilities around the installation to Gen. James McConville, the 40th and current U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Michael A. Grinston, as they visited Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston April 23.

The purpose of their visit was to get an overview of U.S. Army North, observe training at the Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, and see the efforts by Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

U.S. Army North, designated as the Joint Forces Land Component Command, or JFLCC, is currently providing support to the Department of Defense COVID-19 response by deploying more than 8,000 service members to eight states throughout the U.S. in order to augment more than 20 civilian hospitals and alternate care facilities with medical and logistics capabilities.

The Joint Forces Land Component Command has been agile and innovative in its response to the situation, McConville said.

U.S. Army North, as U.S Northern Command’s JFLCC, continues the rapid integration of medical capabilities in several locations around the country while remaining flexible to quickly respond to upcoming needs as part of the Department of Defense’s response to COVID-19.

The JFLCC staff also provided the CSA and the SMA a COVID-19-focused mission brief and a tour of the operational headquarters facility. There they met with staff members to discuss each section’s focus and lessons learned. Members of the JFLCC shared their plans to apply the knowledge gained in continuing to provide responsive and flexible support as regions return to steady-state operations.

During the tour, the CSA and SMA also got a first-hand glimpse into real-world, relevant MEDCoE medical training at the Medical Education and Training Campus, including a respiratory therapist training program.

There has been a unity of effort and everyone has moved in the same direction as a team, McConville said.

The MEDCoE trains and educates nearly 30,000 service members in more than 360 training and education programs annually, that include everyone from combat medics, doctors, surgeons, nurses, veterinarians, dentists, physical therapists and physician assistants to medical evacuation pilots, food inspectors, medical technicians, and hospital administrators.

The last stop of the tour was BAMC, which is a Level 1 trauma center that provides safe, quality care to service members, their families, veterans and civilian emergency patients as the most productive healthcare organization within the military health system.

The hospital has adapted operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, providing drive-through screening and pharmacy operations. They also treat local COVID-19 positive patients from Joint Base San Antonio and the surrounding area.

McConville said the American people are proud that their military stays ready and was there to support when needed. He encouraged Soldiers to keep up the fight against COVID-19.