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CALL Newsletter 04-13
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Chapter 4: Combat Service Support
Topic F: Health Service Support

Subtopic 4: Field Sanitation Teams

Observation Synopsis

No real evidence that field sanitation (FS) teams were operating as they were supposed to exists. Field sanitation teams did not appear to carry out any specific and/or significant duties during this deployment. During the summer months, very basic field sanitation requirements were met, but lack of attention to details resulted in increased rates of gastrointestinal illnesses among Soldiers. In particular, there were long periods of time (up to days) at various FOBs where there were either no hand washing stations or empty/dry hand washing stations adjacent to latrines. Even now, with the civilian contracted latrines (Port-A-Potties), there remains a shortage of hand washing stations around all the latrines in the area of operations. During maneuver, these issues may not be as important as others, but outbreaks of diarrhea among large numbers of Soldiers reduce mission effectiveness and are often the result of fecal-oral transmission of infectious agents. The reality in the field units is that the field sanitation team exists only to "check the box" and does provide a measurable function.

Lessons Learned

  • Greater emphasis on field sanitation as a significant preventive medicine measure is needed and needs to be reinforced, not only with Soldiers, but with their NCOs and officers.
  • Recommend specific emphasis be placed during unit inspections, field exercises, National Training Center (NTC) and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) rotations measuring the effectiveness and function of field sanitation teams to ensure Soldiers and their leaders understand the importance of this team.

Table of Supporting Observations

Observation Title CALLCOMS
File Number
Field Sanitation Teams 10000-97566

Table of Contents
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 3: Combat Lifesavers (CLS)
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 5: Laundering of Medical Contaminated Material

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