A medical technician sterilizes a Soldier’s forearm before drawing blood at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. Blood is drawn to check for a range of conditions and illnesses, including HIV, typhoid, smallpox and hepatitis. All servicemembers are also screened for glucose-6-phosphate, a condition that makes anti-malaria pills ineffective. This is particularly important for those deploying to Afghanistan, where malaria is currently considered endemic. Photo by PFC. Holly Shaw, Mobilization and Deployment Bde.
Pfc. Holly Shaw
Mobilization and Deployment Bde.
First thing in the morning, busloads of troops line up outside a small building with orders and records in hand. The buzz that circulates through the air can be electrifying.
Some Soldiers gather to talk and laugh, while others keep to themselves – all of them pondering what the next year has in store for them. These Soldiers have arrived at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center.
With Col. Christine Sautter overseeing the medical portion and Master Sgt. Irma Banks in charge of administration, the site plays a crucial role in the well-being of the Army. With multiple missions, the SRP has the task of ensuring every servicemember passing through its doors is fit for duty.
“We function as an entire SRP entity to ensure that the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, etc., is capable of performing their mission without distraction,” said Lt. Col. Todd Strand, SRP executive officer.
Strand said the SRP staff has multiple missions, including demobilizations, which ensure servicemembers are fit to return to their homes and families; mobilizations; welcoming new Soldiers; and readiness, for units to update their Soldiers’ records and medical screening.
On any given day, it’s not uncommon for more than 600 mobilizing troops to go through the SRP facility, and it’s the staff’s job to clear each servicemember for deployment. Individuals must be screened through a series of stations, ranging from vaccinations and audiology checks to optometry visits and general medical screenings, during which a lab will run a series of tests to check for a range of conditions and illnesses.
The number of servicemembers who are determined to be medically deployable is greatly affected by how proactive their commanders are in addressing issues before they get to the SRP site.
Servicemembers who are not fully medically deployable are tracked by case management to ensure they become fully fit for duty before they can deploy. After going through the SRP process, servicemembers scheduled to deploy are released to their units for mobilization training.
The administration portion is as equally important as the medical portion. The adjutant general section helps servicemembers with Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and emergency records. The finance section handles Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Quarters needs, powers of attorney and special pays.
The PAD section ensures all injured servicemembers are receiving medical care and tracks personnel using post-deployment health risk assessments.
“The SRP is important because it makes sure any loose ends are tied up, giving the Soldier and Soldier’s family the security of knowing that things are in order,” said Spc. Michael Bean, from Springfield, Mo.
With the SPR site ensuring servicemembers are fit for duty and have no unresolved issues, the organization greatly reduces stress for deploying military personnel and their units. The SRP staff is in place to make sure each deployed servicemember is able to fulfill his or her mission without becoming a preventable casualty.