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56th Medical Battalion (Multifunctional)
56th Medical Battalion (Evacuation)

The 56th Medical Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington is a multifunctional medical battalion. It consists of a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 6 medical companies, and 6 medical detachments. The assigned companies as of 2010 were the 98th Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), 514th Medical Company (Ground Ambulance), 520th Medical Company (Area Support), 547th Medical Company (Area Support), 551st Medical Company (Logistics), and the 673rd Medical Company (Dental Surgery). The 6 assigned detachments were the 102nd Medical Detachment (Forward Surgical Team), 153rd Medical Detachment (Blood Support), 218th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Science), 227th Medical Detachment (Preventive Medicine), 250th Medical Detachment (Forward Surgical Team) (Airborne), and the 758th Medical Detachment (Forward Surgical Team).

Following a massive earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, US Army Forces Command ordered the 56th Medical Battalion (Multifunctional) to deploy in support of Operation Unified Response. There it would serve as the command and control element for Joint Task Force-Haiti's medical task force and be aligned under the Joint Logistics Command-Haiti, manned by the 377th Theater Sustainment Command from Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Beyond command and control, some other areas of responsibilities included computer infrastructure, communication procedures, and information management. Six Army units, a US Navy unit and a US Air Force unit were assigned to the Battalion to carry out their mission taskings.

The 56th Medical Battalion accepted the call and hit the ground running. Its capabilities included: acquisition and storage of blood through the 153rd Medical Detachment (Blood Support) from Fort Lewis, Washington; basic health care, patient hold, and ground ambulance service through the 602nd Medical Company (Area Support) from Fort Bragg, North Carolina; food inspections and care for military working dogs and cadaver dogs through the 43rd Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service) from Fort Hood, Texas; ordering, monitoring and storage of medical supplies through the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center from Fort Detrick, Maryland and the 583rd Medical Company (Logistics) from Fort Hood, Texas; emergency and trauma care through the Joint Task Force-Bravo Mobile Surgical Team from Soto Cano, Honduras; preventative health measures, such as air, soil and water testing and vector (mosquito) control through a Forward Deployed Preventative Medicine Unit from Norfolk, Virginia; and an ad hoc Preventative Medicine team.

Its capabilities were enhanced further through collaborative efforts with other JTF-Haiti medical units. It combined the 602nd Medical Company with a USAF Small Portable Expeditionary Aeromedical Rapid Response Team to form a basic hospital near the airport, where it could be easily serviced by the USAF MEDEVAC unit. The 12,000+ U.S. service members and US Government employees could get the right care quickly.

The 56th Medical Battalion also accomplished missions directly supporting the people of Haiti. It coordinated with NGO's to support evacuation of certain medical cases to the University Hospital, Miami, Florida. The JTF-Bravo MST treated 1,800+ Haitians (mostly orthopedic cases) at their location near Killick, Haiti. In coordination with the government of Haiti, the 6th MLMC and the 583rd Medical Company refurbished and updated Promess Warehouse, the National medical supply warehouse for all of Haiti. Also in coordination with the government of Haiti's Minister of Agriculture the 43rd Medical Detachment helped revive the National Vaccination Program for rabies by vaccinating over 9,000 animals in several locations throughout Haiti. By March 2010, the 56th Medical Battalion was seeking ways to support area hospitals and clinics run by NGOs to provide for the long-term healthcare needs of the people of Haiti.




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