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Feature Stories

NEWS | Feb. 27, 2020

Spotlight on the 1st TSC Surgeon Cell: This is my Squad

By Story by Wendy Arevalo 1st Theater Sustainment Command

FORT KNOX, Ky. – Army organizations rely on teams to work effectively to accomplish tasks and objectives. For the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) surgeon cell, having a cohesive team that supports each other is essential to accomplishing the mission.

“Because we are all experts in very specific areas, it is important that we work together as a team to create a complete product instead of a product that is lacking/missing information,” said Maj. Tosha Nichols, environmental science engineering officer (ESEO), 1st TSC.

The 1st TSC surgeon cell monitors Soldiers on profile, tracks medical readiness, and works with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) to assist with high-risk Soldiers.

They also support 1st TSC's subordinate units downrange—providing guidance, and oversight, to more than 30,000 deployed Soldiers.

While the surgeon cell oversees 1st TSC medical operations, 3rd Medical Command Deployment Support (MCDS) and Task Force Spartan provide the actual clinical care of troops downrange.

“We are liaisons; we work with U.S. Army Central (ARCENT), Task Force Sinai, and our down trace units’ medical sections to improve communication, streamline medical planning, and ensure that whatever the 1st TSC is planning, that medical is incorporated into it,” said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Duque, command surgeon, 1st TSC.

With a team of five supporting more than 30,000 Soldiers, communication is key.

“Every day, multiple times a day, we are sharing with each other, making cohesive and collaborative decisions and recommendations that the command surgeon can use to advise the commanding general,” said Nichols.

They also support each other so that when one member is absent, the mission continues.

“When a team member has to be absent from work for a mission or other reason, we prepare for that absence and cover down,” she said. “For instance, Mr. Cano [our Department of the Army civilian] provides medical statistics on the command that feed reports on readiness, but when he is gone, another team member has the training and ability to pull that data.”

Adrian Cano, medical readiness technician, 1st TSC, agreed.

“Depending on the job title, for us to be able to understand what the other is doing is vital, because the mission has to continue no matter what,” Cano said. “If someone’s sick or hurt, someone will pick up the slack,” he said. “The way we operate in the surgeon cell is each of us can usually pick up the slack of the one that is down, for any reason, so the mission can continue.”

For Duque, having a cohesive team requires two things.

“It’s all about communication and supporting each other in order to take care of our Soldiers.”