On a remote section of Dekkar Airstrip at Fort Benning, members of the 14th Combat Support Hospital are testing a new way to erect a hospital in the field.
Maj. Jeffery Hogue, executive officer of the unit, said more than 100 soldiers have been at the site for the last two weeks testing an 84 bed portable hospital erected using air beams compared with the current deployable medical system. Aimed at saving lives, the new system can be operating in one day while the other system takes two to three days.
“It provides quicker access to medical care for the soldiers,” Hogue said. “If the Army decides to go with this structure, it will result in quicker care for soldiers when we go down range, when we deploy.”
The unit at Fort Benning is the second in the Army to test the new facility. It saves time and takes less manpower to set up.
“The goal here is to tell how fast it went up and more importantly how we operate inside the facility,” Hogue said. “Is is better, is it easy to work around?
In addition to the air bean system, the Army also is testing the chemically deployable medical system, said Danny Ellis, equipment specialist and project leader for the U.S. Army Medical Department Board at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Both systems are still in the developmental stage and not approved by the medical department board.
“There is still room to change things,” Ellis said. “We’d like to have a window in this shelter.”
At 10-foot tall, the new structure has higher ceilings and more space for medical staff.