FORT POLK, Louisiana –
Maj. Gen. Michael J. Talley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, held a professional development forum Jan. 25 for medical service corps officers at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Talley, the 20th Chief of the Medical Service Corps, discussed the 2030 strategic plan for Army Medicine and the important role MSC officers play.
Talley discussed a variety of topics from future technologies, career enhancing assignments, educational opportunities and more with 30 medical service officers from across the installation.
According to the MEDCoE website, the MSC consists of 23 areas of concentration to include Administrative Health Services, Medical Allied Sciences, Preventive Medicine Sciences, Behavioral Health Sciences, Pharmacy, Optometry, Podiatry, Aeromedical Evacuation and Health Service Maintenance Technicians.
Maj. Gary Cheatwood, deputy commander for administration at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, said the professional leadership development offered by Talley was important because it officers a better understanding of the strategic goals of Army Medicine.
“Each unit should support and align their training to meet those goals,” he said. “I also learned that it is more important than ever to ally and integrate as a joint force in order to create efficiency of scale in a resource constrained environment.”
First Lt. Joel Castellano, evacuation platoon leader, Company C, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, said he appreciated Talley’s advice to senior mission leaders about the important role of the combat training center at Fort Polk in the development of future medical concepts for the Army.
“As a junior officer just beginning my career, learning about the Army of the future was particularly pertinent,” he said.
Castellano said he enjoyed Talley’s discussion of education and advancement opportunities for MSC officers.
“It is fascinating and exciting to learn about the technologies that Army Medicine will be fielding to the force to help us fight and win the battles of the future,” he said. “Overall, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this leadership development opportunity with Maj. Gen. Talley and look forward to further progression as a medical service officer.”
Lt. Col. Ralph Salazar, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment, said Talley’s discussion and strategic insight into major programs and initiatives are important to subordinate MSC officers.
“He explains the ‘why’ behind what are sometimes abstract requirements which helps us understand the bigger picture,” he said. “Developmentally, it is helpful for us to visualize the complexities of navigating the political landscape we may one day find ourselves operating in.”
Salazar enjoyed learning about emerging technologies and the changing training methodologies.
“This will help us prepare our young warfighters for future conflicts,” he said. “As we implement change management at our level, we can impart some of Maj. Gen. Talley’s vision to our junior medical professionals so we can manage their expectations for the next fight.”
Capt. Kelvin Cook, chief of operations for BJACH, said he enjoyed hearing first-hand from the corps chief about the future of Army Medicine.
“Understanding our future can help us lean in and embrace changing strategies, methodologies and technologies for the next five, 10, 15 years,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to hear his perspective and understanding of the future goals and objectives of the medical service corps as a whole.”
Cook said he can use what he learned in his current position at BJACH.
“It gives me a good azimuth check on where our priorities should be,” he said. “As the chief of operations for BJACH, it was a positive reminder that we are an operational Army not just a medical asset. We are Soldiers first.”