Cavalry troops construct portable aid stationBy Sgt. Robert Yde
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – As Capt. Nicole Vild, the commander of Delta Forward Support Company, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, made preparations for her company’s upcoming medical assistance mission, she realized that one crucial piece was missing.
She had a container full of enough medical supplies to assist hundreds of people. She had already contacted all the necessary medical personnel, and a location for the mission had also been chosen. Everything seemed to be in place, but she still had one problem.
“Most of the [medical missions] that we have been doing have been inside buildings because, one, it’s a hard structure and two, the doc’s require some kind of privacy and separation,” the Cleveland native explained. “We are going to an area that has no empty buildings except for one that’s a mosque.”
She said that with no prospective buildings to set up their temporary clinic in, the initial idea was to just try to have the medics and doctors work out of the back of humvees. This was not the ideal situation, so Vild said she took her problem to Staff Sgt. Cody Britton, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of her company’s recovery shop.
“I told them that we had to have enough space for a litter and a chair in each little room, and I needed at least four rooms,” she said. “I was thinking that they were just going to come up with some kind of stand that I could hang tarps on.”
Britton and his Soldiers took the little bit of guidance they were given and ran with it, coming up with an idea for a six-room, portable aid station.
“Sergeant (Roland) Powell and I came together and brainstormed on it, and then as it came together the other Soldiers on the team kind of chipped in what they thought, and this is the outcome,” explained Britton, who is originally from Sheridan, Wyo.
When erected, the structure forms a 28-by-10-foot “building,” and can be broken down into 18 poles so it can be easily transported into sector.
“We’ll just throw it in the back of an LMTV (Light Medium Tactical Vehicle) so it’s not a big deal, and once we get out there all we have to do is snap the pieces together, lock the bolts in and stand it up,” Vild explained.
The aid station can be fully assembled by two Soldiers in about 10 minutes, and according to Britton, the entire construction process has been, “dumified” so that anyone who needed to can put it together.
“I’ve color coded everything so anybody can put it together,” he said. “It’s very simple, you really can’t mess it up.”
Once the frame is up, D-rings with pre-tied pieces of rope running between them are locked into place across from one another. Curtains, which serve to partition off each room, are hung over the rope, completing the assembly of the aid station.
Each of the six rooms will be eight-by –five-feet — dimensions that Britton said he came up with to allow the necessary one litter and one chair.
“Everything else came together after that,” he explained. “After we got the measurements for the liter and the chair that gave me an idea of how wide one room should be and then how long the whole thing should be.”
After seeing the portable aid station for the first time, Vild said she was “amazed.”
“I didn’t give them much guidance, so I was just very impressed with what they came up with,” she said.
For Britton and his Soldiers, coming up with ways to solve problems is just part of their job, but he said that knowing that their latest creation will be a central piece in providing help to Iraqis who desperately need it makes this project a little more special.
“It makes us feel like we’re part of the team,” Britton said. “I mean, we don’t really roll out as much as everybody else does, so when they asked us to build something like this for the Iraqis, it makes us feel like we’re part of the team, and that we’re actually helping.”
Staff Sgt. Cody Britton assembles a leg to a portable aid station, while Spc. Raymond Connolly holds it in place at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad Sept. 9. The aid station was constructed by members of Delta Forward Support Company, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, for an upcoming medical mission. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
Spc. Raymond Connolly (left) and Staff Sgt. Cody Britton slide the final leg of a portable aide station into place at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad Sept. 9. The aid station was constructed by members of Delta Forward Support Company, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, for an upcoming medical mission. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)