Fort Hood News Archive

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Directorate of Public Works Natural & Cultural Resources Management Branch along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Balcones National Wildlife Refuge is conducting a prescribed burn operation beginning at 10 a.m.  June 3 in training area 62.

The burn is contingent upon weather conditions. TA 62 is located on the northwest side of the installation, off of Royalty Ridge Rd. and Old Georgetown Rd.

The burn will produce large quantities of smoke due to accumulated grasses, weeds, and brush. Fire & Emergency Services and the Directorate of Public Works will have adequate manpower and equipment on the scene to carry out the prescribed burn in a safe and efficient manner.

By: Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin Ringold
13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Public Affairs Office

Outgoing Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Darren L. Werner, passes the colors to Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, Deputy Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, during the ceremony May 29. Werner will now head to Michigan as the Commanding General for the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command.
13th ESC Commanding General, Col. (P) Ronald R. Ragin, receives the colors from Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, Deputy Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, during the ceremony May 29. Ragin takes the reins after commanding the U.S. Army Operational Test Command for the last year.

FORT HOOD – As COVID-19 movement restrictions loosen, the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command said good-bye to their 26th commanding general.

Brig. Gen. Darren L. Werner, outgoing 13th ESC Commanding General, relinquished command to Col. (P) Ronald R. Ragin during a ceremony on Brig. Gen. Terrance J. Hildner Field May 29.

With the health and safety of the force and community a priority, the change-of-command ceremony was held with limited attendees, and live-streamed for those who could not attend.

During Werner’s two-year tenure, the 13th ESC units supported multiple rotations to combat training centers, deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kosovo, Kuwait, Honduras, Africa, Central America, Europe and supported missions across the nation.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, Deputy Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, was the reviewing officer for the ceremony, and praised Werner for what the unit accomplished during his command.

“The 13th ESC has certainly lived up to their call sign, ‘Provider,’” Efflandt said. “Their continued support and dedication to Ft. Hood operations has provided improved sustainment operations and has directly increased lethality and readiness across Ft. Hood.”

Under Werner’s command, the 13th ESC Soldiers continued to set the standard as they supported countless missions in the U.S. and overseas.

“Over the past two years, you have contributed to every major contribution that’s been developed in our Army in maintenance, mobility and medical doctrine,” Werner said.

Werner thanked them for all they accomplished.

“I am extremely proud of all that this formation accomplished over the past two years and the hard-work put into making this unit what it is today,” Werner said.  “The Soldiers of the 13th ESC headquarters, the 49th Transportation Battalion, the 61st Quartermaster Battalion and the 1st Medical Brigade, continue to remain capable of any task and ready for any mission.”

Werner will now head to Michigan as the Commanding General for the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, but will always cherish his time here at the Great Place.

“It has been a distinct honor being a member of this distinguished unit, and a Phantom Warrior at this Great Place,” Werner said. “I know that the Army chose well selecting Ron.  I know he’ll do an incredible job as the 13th ESC Commanding General, and I look forward to seeing all that you all accomplish together as a team.”

Col. (P) Ronald R. Ragin takes the reins after commanding the U.S. Army Operational Test Command for the last year, and was grateful for the opportunity to lead the “Lucky 13th.”

“I thank you for the opportunity and the trust you have instilled in me as the 13th ESC Commander,” Ragin said.  “I ask that you hold me accountable to sustain lethality and ensure the readiness of this corps.”

As the ceremony concluded, Ragin had a special message for the 13th ESC Family.

“To all the Soldiers and families of the 13th ESC,” Ragin said.  “I look forward to providing you with great leadership, direction and support.”


Please visit the 13th ESC Facebook page for video from the live-stream: https://www.facebook.com/13ESC/videos/1105981813106705/?__tn__=kC-R&eid=ARDr8wb8Zz8HPZQb-b7Wwp0EtODUKPCqt9CLk4YKV0HaFiN05EVz-33Pi-JdmMQr6NLxIr7gbJzPJvOc&hc_ref=ARRlBZtkfj8hoJzNxc-b0NbC93D_bzHNiJKoDBs5GBNIGis61AntcfBzeO1dKhdZPnc&fref=nf&__xts__[0]=68.ARDWgNi_EpIVzJ59675g-3Zb0IPvCArzYqJZFmwpvfiL1JY1LK26rVHMVcqXmI7zqf2RWxGSQp_BEPsiAj_4yYOaQXKkfDxZ-kSmiO5tiSaEpjf9_8hyH7DHLv6fNPIUu8O1kTzKKeIWR5t9xRkonyK819GN3yMn7b8uv9S8yZ4lkcGc24BjzRLY3W8NCmAABZPLMmCd_Mun85cUN3Y0VYk5nD3OtN0XyYnViOHVvByCRLw6mksnJ7GQ6O3Waehyquhq8a4SpZK6Y3ddAoShnwu0egTD-Fp-wA8RJ6dHpdZwmA7jvKpqbnjwQJZ9dM08e-5dD3If8fda9OPGy6g-Ael0qzii5Bk7

Speaking from the podium during the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Relinquishment of Command ceremony May 28, 2020 at West Fort Hood, Texas, under COVID-19 pandemic conditions, Col. Ronald R. Ragin displays his protective mask and sanitizer. Ragin will move to the other side of the post to command the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command effective May 29, 2020. (Photo by Mr. Tad Browning, Audiovisual Production Specialist, Test Documentation Team, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

By Mr. Michael M. Novogradac, U.S. Army Operational Test Command

WEST FORT HOOD, Texas — The unit responsible for testing new and modernized Army equipment bid farewell to its commander via social media during a virtual relinquishment of command ceremony Thursday under COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

Col. Ronald R. Ragin, who commanded the U.S. Army Operational Test Command (OTC) since May 23, 2019, is stepping across Fort Hood where he will take the reins of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Friday morning.

Overall, the ceremony was vastly different than any other because of the Corona Virus.

There were no troops or color guard, or crowd of people, receiving line or reception that followed. Only a small group of the necessary people to plan the ceremony, Ragin, OTC’s three senior leaders and family appeared.

Maj. Gen. Joel K. Tyler, ceremony host and commander of U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), OTC’s higher headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, reflected on Ragin’s year in command over a video teleconference feed.

After acknowledging how OTC managed to execute 44 tests during the last year, Tyler said, “I know you are going to drive on with the great leadership of both John Diem and Fred Snyder for an interim period until the new commander arrives.”

Speaking of Ragin, Tyler said it was unique that he was the first logistician in charge of OTC.

“I was thinking about, ‘How do we sum up your year, plus at OTC?’ and — really — the word I keep coming back to is teamwork,” Tyler said. “You give me really great and candid feedback that helps me be a better commander.

“That leadership that you provide — specifically during the time of this COVID-19 pandemic — has been truly superior. You kept your people safe, you kept them ready, you kept them focused, and we greatly appreciate all the things you have done for your folks.”

When Ragin took to the podium, he thanked people name-by-name on the OTC staff and across its eight geographically-dispersed test directorates.

To applause, he told everyone the day was also his 15th Anniversary with his wife Brandie, thanking her for teaching their two pre-teen daughters Chinese, French, reading, math and science at home under pandemic conditions, saying, “You are truly the brains and genius behind the Ragin family and I love you very much.”

He spoke of families, extending thanks to everyone.

“I want to extend a very special thanks to all of our family members,” he said. “Because of your personal sacrifice and dedication, we are able to do the things that we do — especially under these pandemic conditions — this is an opportunity for us to strengthen our family bonds.”

He said there are two items important to him as a leader and commander.

“Number one is people and then number two is about winning,” he said.

“The chief of staff of the Army, General McConville talks about ‘People First,’ and ‘Winning Matters’,” he explained.

“If we get the people part of our business right, we will always be successful and I firmly believe that.”

He told everyone that when he walked into OTC as its commander, he knew nothing about operational testing.

“I really had no clue of what I was about to get into,” he said. “Now I do. I know that you are the best in the business. I know that you have all the right people,” and then he went into a thorough list of naming those people and what they do for OTC.

He said everyone adjusted quickly to his leadership style, and he appreciated all the lessons they gave him during his year in command.

He said to many, “You are amazing people. You are backed by experts in depth,” and warned he might take some workers with him as he left OTC.

“Let me give you all a round of applause,” he concluded. “In the end, people matter the most. Right now, in the midst of a struggle with an invisible enemy, some are feeling uncertainty, ambiguity, and struggle. We will win against this struggle with COVID-19. Be not fearful, be patient, be smart. We will win. Know that you are a great workforce and I was honored to be your commander.”

OTC will not receive a new commander until August.

Meanwhile, Col. Frederick R. Snyder, the unit’s current deputy commander and chief of staff, assumed command of OTC.

Mr. John W. Diem, OTC’s executive director and Fort Hood’s only flag officer-level Civilian, assumed general supervisory responsibility over operations of the organization.

~~

About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:

As the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.

By Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas– A new training program at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is proof positive that hospital staff persistently push themselves to perform at the highest level of their training and competency.

Thirty licensed vocational nurses are currently pursuing skill certification training that will allow them to administer intravenous therapy push medications to patients. LVNs are trained in school to give medications via multiple routes, but medications pushed through the IV has traditionally been a task reserved for registered nurses.

IVP is currently not being taught in civilian LVN programs, nor in the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence’s standard military LVN (68C) training. However, the Texas Board of Nursing and several other state boards do permit LVNs to administer IV push medications once they have received training and demonstrated competency.

Maj. Brett Weir, clinical nurse specialist for CRDAMC’s Intensive Care and Medical-Surgical-Pediatric units, recognized the value this additional skill would provide on his units where IV push medications are administered frequently. Seeing that it would improve efficiency not just in his units but in all of the hospital’s inpatient units, Weir spearheaded the development of the training at CRDAMC with input from Maj. Bethany Gardner, Maternal Child Health CNS and Lt. Col.  Megan Childs, Operating Room CNS.

“It’s really win-win for staff and patients. With this added skill in the LVN task list, patients will not be required to wait until an RN is available to administer their pain medication. By being able to give the IVP medications directly, the LVNs are able to streamline their workflow process, eliminate frustration and feel empowered to give their patients the highest, quality care possible,” Gardner said.

The curriculum includes online training modules, classroom instruction, simulated patient encounters, a medication exam, and observations of IVP administrations in clinical practice. The LVNs also must complete additional study-on-your-own training modules focused on medications (benefits and risks), administration, and evaluation of response. The final component, observation of correct administration technique, is also required on the LVN’s home unit by staff RNs before competency is finalized.

“I think the program is fantastic. Students report feeling confident and prepared after their training to work at the peak of their competency. Unit leadership and fellow staff RNs appreciate how this program safely enhances efficiency on their units,” Gardner said. “Patient satisfaction is high since they don’t have to wait to get the medications. They know they will get the care they need, when they want it.”

 

 

Registered nurse 1st Lt. Delany Fishman (left) poses with Vesta Pomykal, LVN from MSPU after Pomykal completed her first observed administration of IV push medications. Pomykal is the first LVN to complete all the requirements of CRDAMC’s skill certification training that will allow LVNs to administer IV push medications to patients, typically a task done by RNs. (Courtesy photo)

1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment “GARRYOWEN,” of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “IRONHORSE will hold a re-dedication ceremony of the 4th Infantry Division OIF Memorial at Monday May 25 at 9:30 a.m.  The 4th Infantry Division rededicated the memorial for the final time 11 years ago before leaving Fort Hood for Fort Carson, Colorado.

The memorial honors over 450 Service-members and Civilians who gave their life for our nation.

“GARRYOWEN” has assumed maintenance of the 4th Infantry Division memorial and Troopers volunteered to help with the upkeep as well as the raising and lowering of the nation’s flag on site every morning and evening.

Media wishing to attend the ceremony should RSVP to Maj. Marcellus L. Simmons at 910-273-6620 (Cell) or marcellus.l.simmons.mil@mail.mil no later than May 24 at 5 p.m.

All interested media will be escorted from the media parking area at the T.J. Mills Blvd. Welcome Center to the memorial and should arrive by 8:45 on May 25 .

 

Fort Hood — Officials from Fort Hood released the following information May 21 regarding the ongoing efforts to find Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a Fort Hood Soldier assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment who went missing on April 22.

The U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, is leading this investigation.  It is an open and active investigation, therefore not much detailed information can be released at this time to safeguard the process.

The search continues both on and off Fort Hood by multiple agencies including the Texas Rangers, Bell and Coryell County Sheriff Departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Game Wardens, the FBI as well as local area police departments.

Initially, 3rd Cavalry Regiment had more than 500 Soldiers a day searching on foot in training areas, barracks and across the installation.  More targeted searches are ongoing with smaller groups of Soldiers.

Aircraft from the 1st Cavalry Division provided more than 100 hours of flight time to the search both on and off the installation.

Additionally, Pfc. Guillen’s unit has made themselves available to the Guillen family and CID agents are keeping the family informed about the investigation.

Fort Hood CID agents continue to conduct interviews and follow up on all credible investigative leads.

We encourage anyone who may have information, no matter how minor, that could help in the safe return of Pfc. Guillen to call CID agents at 254-495-7767 and share that information with them.

Attribute to Tom Rheinlander, Director, Fort Hood Public Affairs Office.

By Mikaela Cade, CRDAMC PAO

Col. Karin Nicholson is positioned inside CRDAMC’s new rotating bed during an ICU staff training session. Rotating beds are use in prone positioning therapy for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). (courtesy photo)FORT HOOD, Texas – As the world considers post COVID-19 life, some things will never be the same, and Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit is one of them.

The team’s recent innovations in the practice of critical care medicine position them to take care of sicker, more complicated patients, a benefit to the Fort Hood community that will remain long after the pandemic passes.

“The changes here are the gold standard, and will lead to improved patient outcomes. In fact, we’ve already seen amazing things like people successfully coming off a mechanical ventilator after prolonged intubation,” said Maj. Amaya De La Garza, chief of pulmonary and respiratory services.

De La Garza believes the ICU transformation will positively impact patient outcomes, facilitate readiness training and enhance the graduate medical education program for Army Medicine’s next generation of leaders.

“In the last eight weeks, we’ve taken care of more complex, critically ill patients than we have since I’ve been here,” De La Garza, said proudly. “We used to send them to other hospitals, but now we can keep them here and provide excellent medical care. Seeing patients improve and return to health is why I got into medicine.”

One of the most significant critical care advances, De La Garza noted was the ability to provide prone positioning therapy. Patients suffering from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) often require mechanical ventilation to help with breathing and lie on their back. With proning, the patient lies in a face-down position to improve oxygen flow.

“We proned the first-ever CRDAMC patient just a few weeks ago,” she said. “It took a lot of training and practice, but our team is committed. Everyone was willing to do whatever it took to raise the bar in the care for our patients.”

She attributes successes to a combination of the willingness of critical care teams to come together selflessly. The team had to get the right equipment and undertake a massive training effort to ensure the highest levels of proficiency among staff.

“We did not just make changes because of COVID-19. The situation just made it easier for us to make the changes we knew we were ready for,” she said. “Planning was underway, but forecasting what success would look like in the fight against COVID-19 helped things move along at a faster pace.”

Although the changes occurred during COVID-19, the procedures are not limited to COVID-19 patients.

“We’re taking care of all types of critically ill patients, not just those with COVID-19,” she said, adding that the team has also managed patients with sepsis, pancreatitis and acute respiratory distress.”

Collaboration is a critical component of success when caring for seriously ill patients and CRDAMC and Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington are collaborating to provide Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) for critically ill patients soon.

“Another pretty amazing thing is the multidisciplinary team approach to managing patients,” De La Garza explained. “Everyone from anesthesia to primary care to physical therapy to nutrition care come together daily to discuss every detail of the patient’s situation and develop a comprehensive care plan.”

Multidisciplinary rounding has become the standard for managing critical care patients at top academic hospitals, according to De La Garza. Improved patient outcomes are just one of the benefits of multidisciplinary rounding.

Jennifer Jerdon, a critical care nurse, is impressed with the transformation and believes it could not have been successful without the staff’s willingness to move beyond the status quo to improve patient care.

“The most amazing thing was the coming together,” Jerdon said. “Everyone was so willing to do whatever was needed. The selflessness of our teammates was incredible.”

Jerdon said they trained nurses from other areas of the medical center and even outlying clinics in critical care nursing skills to increase ICU staff.

“We did a lot of training from the 66G, OB/GYN nursing students to community-based medical home nurses to nurse administrators,” Jerdon said, adding that all the nurses are licensed, but for those not currently involved in patient care standard practice requires them to receive refreshers in patient care and safety and equipment usage.

Tasha Parker, CNOIC pulmonary intensive care and respiratory services also believes CRDAMC has a very cohesive and tight-knit group of people who are beyond good at their jobs.

“We can sometimes get comfortable just doing our jobs, but this experience of expanding our critical care capability in the middle of a pandemic reminds us that we must do things for the person in the bed—the patient. And, when we do that, we’ve done our jobs,” she said.

Skyler Brown, family medicine resident, believes his recent critical care experience has made him more confident and prepared for future success.

“I’ve been here for three years, and before the pandemic, we took care of routine things, but now we’re running codes in one room and setting up vents in another,” Brown said. “It’s good, and we’re getting excellent training.”

Brown, who graduates from Darnall’s Family Medicine Residency program in June, also completed a training rotation at Baylor, Scott & White. Working with critical care providers as they manage a new disease was an invaluable learning experience for him.

“In medicine, we learn about disease processes and understand patterns, but COVID-19 is a new process. We’re learning more every day, so watching more senior physicians critically think through what they’re seeing and planning the appropriate care is great,” said Brown.

The ICU staff learned valuable lessons from the other hospitals. And from those lessons, they moved quickly to ensure they were ready to implement new procedures and safety measures by the time the first COVID-19 patient arrived.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were increasing the acuity of the hospital and improving our processes,” said Col. Karin Nicholson, pulmonary, critical care and sleep physician. “We are now well-positioned to continue more complex patient care. We are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to take care of our patients in the medical center, and keep our staff skilled and ready to deploy.”

 

FORT HOOD, Texas –Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s primary care clinics will be closed Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. The hospital remains open for emergency services, inpatient care and labor and delivery services.

The Respiratory Drive-Thru (RDT) clinic will be open during the holiday weekend, including Memorial Day. RDT’s hours modified hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 22 through May 25.

TRICARE Prime enrollees with urgent or emergent care needs should seek assistance at the CRDAMC Emergency Department.

Normal operating hours for CRDAMC clinics, pharmacies, and the Respiratory Drive-Thru will resume Tuesday, May 26.

In response to COVID-19, beneficiaries are encouraged to use virtual health care to address most routine needs and come to the medical treatment facility for an in person appointment only if absolutely necessary.  CRDAMC’s comprehensive virtual health care visits include secure messaging, telephone and/or a video conference with your provider. Providers will arrange in person visits for any beneficiary needing additional care.

TRICARE online

Beneficiaries may also schedule and cancel appointments using TRICARE Online (TOL). Please visit www.tricare.mil.   .

Nurse Advice Line
Military Health System Nurse Advice Lines (NAL) is available 24/7 for assistance.  You can web chat, video chat, or call 1.800.TRICARE (874-2273), option 1.  Beneficiaries can get evidence-based health care advice from a registered nurse.

 

For more information contact Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

POC: Mikaela Cade, (254) 288-8005; mikaela.t.cade.civ@mail.mil 

Web site: http://www.crdamc.amedd.army.mil.

 

FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood officials have released the name of a Soldier who was found deceased May 18 near Fuller Lane,  Harker Heights, Texas.

Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, whose home of record is listed as Kimberling City, Missouri, entered the Army in May 2018 as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer and has been assigned to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2018.

Rosecrans’ awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

” Command Sgt. Maj.  Ryan McLane and I would like to express our deepest regrets to the family and loved ones of Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans. The thoughts and prayers of the Soldiers of 215th Brigade Support Battalion and the Greywolf Brigade are with them during this difficult time,” said Col. Kevin Capra, commander 3ABCT.

The incident is under investigation by the Harker Heights Police Department and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

FORT HOOD, Texas — Memorial Day weekend visits for Families who have relatives buried in cemeteries within the Fort Hood live-fire training areas are between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. May 24.

Visitors must call range operations at (254) 287-3130/3321 before accessing the live-fire area.

No vehicle pass is required for the cemetery visits unless accessing the installation through vehicle control points (gates). Range operations will have guides available to assist Families and monitor cemetery visits to ensure that all visitors are clear of the live-fire training areas by 7 p.m.

Signs will be posted along roads giving directions to the cemeteries. Roads which may be used are: East Range Road, Hubbard Road, West Range Road and Owl Creek Road.

For more information, contact Installation Range Officer Mr. Michael Smith at (254) 553-1943 or (254) 291-2363, or email Michael.j.smith447.civ@mail.mil.