El Paso-Based Reserve Unit Boosts Medical Readiness at Fort Bliss

Approximately 30 Soldiers with the 7248th Medical Support Unit (MSU), based out of El Paso, conducted an Annual Training event at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, providing additional healthcare support to Soldiers, retirees, families and other beneficiaries in the area.

The unit, which falls under the 7454th Medical Backfill Battalion out of San Antonio, is comprised of different medical professionals from patient administration specialists and combat medics to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.

“Our mission was to support the hospital in various departments,” said Maj. John Buen, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and officer in charge of the detachment. “We had Soldiers supporting (laboratory services, labor & delivery, and medical, surgical and behavioral health inpatient wards) for two weeks. The training helped supplement our own training to keep (reserve-component Soldiers) competent in their skills.”

The locally-based MSU provides medical support to Military Treatment Facilities throughout the Army through personnel backfills to sustain uninterrupted medical operations. Because the unit is mostly comprised of medical professionals, Soldiers are spread throughout WBAMC to provide premium training opportunities related to their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and provide a real-world experience.

“It was a good learning experience,” said Spc. Levi Raygoza, patient administration specialist, 7248th MSU. “I learned more (at WBAMC) than I did at (during initial MOS training).”

This is the first annual training Raygoza, an El Paso native, has been assigned for. A college student while out of uniform, Raygoza, who enlisted in the Army two years ago, said he believes the two-week exercise will prepare him for potential assignments in the future.

“(The staff) covered pretty much everything of what our job entails,” said Raygoza. “By the fourth day I was already on my own. With a little more training I would (feel comfortable) being activated.”

For several Soldiers, like Buen, the mission is an extension of their civilian occupations, providing added training for their civilian occupations and adding diverse work experience at WBAMC work areas.

“If we can provide manpower to help the hospital and promote (Soldier) skillsets at the same time,” said Buen, who also works as a civilian CRNA in the El Paso Community. “It’s a win-win for both institutions.”

The annual training event was held from July 8-20.

Col. Shawna Scully (left), deputy commander for medical services, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Sgt. Maj. Dina Pang, chief clinical noncommissioned officer, present reserve-component Soldiers with the 7248th Medical Support Unit commander’s coins for their service during an annual training event at WBAMC, July 20. |
Photo by Marcy Sanchez

Story: Marcy Sanchez – William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office