Lt. Col. James Hammond, an optometrist with to the 452nd
Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Robin Air Force Base, Ga., conducts
an eye exam on a patient at the Madison S. Palmer High School July
22, 2013, during the Mississippi Medical Project in Marks, Miss.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz)
Spc. Carissa Luck, a licensed practical nurse assigned to the
4224th U.S. Army Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa, conducts a blood
pressure check on Iris Lester, a student at ITT Technical Institute
in Cordova, Tenn., at the Madison S. Palmer High School July 22,
2013 during the Mississippi Medical Project in Marks, Miss. (U.S.
Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz)
Spc. Jessika Roney, animal care specialist attached to the 4224th
United States Army Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa, preps a canine July
21, 2013, for surgery at the veterinary care site set up at the St.
John Episcopal Church in Helena, Ark., during the Mississippi
Medical Project. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz)
Service members of the Army
Reserve, Air Force Reserve and active Army and Navy
organized as Task Force Bull Dog, established the
Mississippi Medical Project as five temporary clinics in
eastern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi.
task force's project is part of the Department of Defense
Innovative Readiness Training Program, which combines
military training with civilian social service needs, so
that service members, in primarily the medical, engineering
and transportation specialties, have the opportunity refine
their skills, while providing services to local communities.
Col. Rhonda Moore, the task forces exercise director and
the commander of the 4224th USAH, said she thinks the MMP is
a great opportunity for service members to experience
hand-on, real-world training.
“If I were to talk to
a soldier about joining an Innovative Readiness Training
next year, I would tell them it's unlike any training you
are have ever had before,” said the colonel, who is a native
of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Soldiers get up
close and personal with the local civilian population, said
Moore. It is also an chance to see different areas of the
country and get immersed in different cultures. “It's
training they won't get at a reserve center.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Jennifer Burton, the senior enlisted
adviser to Moore, said, the Delta Regional Authority, the
federal agency created to organize federal services and
projects in the region, selected the area within the Delta
Region for the MMP to include Miss. towns of Clarksdale,
Marks, Tunica and Rosedale and Helena, Ark.
said, the residents received medical services ranging from
free eye exams and, glasses, dental exams and minor oral
surgery, in addition to screening for hypertension and
diabetes. In addition personnel provided veterinary
At the end of the exercise, the more than
220 personnel treated more than 5,000 patients and more that
150 animal, said Burton, a native of Peoria, Ill. The
command Sgt. Maj. said she heard many touching stories,
“I had spoken to a lady that was waiting to get her eyes
checked,” she said. “She stated she hasn't had new eye
glasses made for herself in at least 15 years because she
couldn't afford it.”
The woman said with the new
glasses, she can now read to her grandchildren and was
excited about that fact she can spend more quality time with
“The people have been very welcoming and
grateful of what we are doing down here,” she said.