By Brad Rhen
Two medics deployed with the 108th Medical Company Area Support, 213th Regional Support Group – both coincidentally named Bradley – are apart from their unit serving other Soldiers and Lithuanian counterparts at a base in Lithuania.
Sgt. Bradley Taylor and Spc. Bradley Hoyt are currently at a Lithuanian Army base in Marijampole, Lithuania, providing medical support to the U.S and Lithuanian troops on the base.
Taylor and Hoyt arrived at the base on April 8. They are primarily providing medical support to U.S troops from the 259th Movement Control Team from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 659th Support Maintenance Co. from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who are at the base.
“Throughout the week we run early morning sick call and are on call 24 hours a day for emergencies,” said Taylor, a resident of Johnstown, Pa. “Medics on ground are helping the Lithuanian medics out by taking patient load off of them by adding another medical facility above their clinic. We also coordinate with the Lithuanian clinic to provide our U.S troops with COVID testing when there are possible cases.”
Their unit, the 108th MCAS, deployed to Europe in late February to provide medical support to U.S. and allied rotational forces in the region. The majority of the company is in Poland, which shares a border with Lithuania.
“Being a two-man team at a base away from the company gives you a little bit of realism that sometimes you are not always going to have a provider looking over your every move,” Taylor said. “I believe operating in a two-man team gives you a little growth as a medic especially when you are used to working around a BSB with a provider there at all times.”
Being on their own can be somewhat intimidating at times, Taylor said.
“We don't have a provider and all the patient care is on us with a little bit of assistance from 'Telemed' if needed,” he said. “Our company that we came with is in a whole other country so it’s a little bit of a different ballgame. They are not just a couple steps away.”
Hoyt, a resident of Mount Bethel, Pa., said he and Taylor have been training and preparing for this rotation for over a year, and there isn’t too much they can’t handle.
“We learn and adapted quickly to overcome obstacles and barriers that we faced and are ready to pass that information on to the next group coming to replace us,” he said.
Being away from their company is a chance to put into practice everything they learned in their train up and test their skills, Hoyt said.
“Every mission that we get to support our Soldiers and build the relationship with our partner nation Lithuania is worth the time and resources we dedicate to it,” he said. “I personally have enjoyed the mission, getting to use my skills as a medic and learning from the experience is always something I'm excited about.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard has had a partnership with Lithuania through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program since 1993, but Taylor’s and Hoyt’s current mission there isn’t necessarily part of the program.