U.S. ARMY INSTITUTE OF SURGICAL RESEARCH
"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"
Left to right: Craig Lebo, National Museum of Civil War Medicine Board Member; Col. (Dr.) Kirby Gross, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Joint Trauma System Director; Dr. Kenneth Bertram, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command principal assistant for acquisition; and Betsy Estilow, National Museum of Civil War Medicine Board President during the eighth annual Major Jonathan Letterman Award for Medical Excellence by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine Oct.8 in Bethesda, Maryland. Gross accepted the award for the USAISR JTS.

The SAMMC Decon Team springs into action to assemble a portable decontamination tent during the Decon Rodeo Oct. 29 which was hosted by the Emergency Medical Service/Hospital Disaster Group Decon-Radiation Safety Officer Committee and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma. Photo by Steven Galvan

SAMMC Decon Team among the best in SW Texas

By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
02 NOVEMBER 2015


San Antonio is well-known throughout Texas for hosting one of the nation’s largest and best rodeos with the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls competing for top prizes in bareback, bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and other traditional rodeo events. On Oct. 29, San Antonio was once again the host of a rodeo, but there wasn’t a single bull, horse or a cowboy to be seen. Instead, the area’s best hospital decontamination teams from the southwest Texas region competed in a “Decon Rodeo.” The rodeo designed to improve response times and promote team building was hosted by the Emergency Medical Service/Hospital Disaster Group Decon-Radiation Safety Officer Committee and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma.

The San Antonio Military Medical Center Decon Team placed second this year, just a couple of points behind the winning team from the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. A total of eight six-person teams competed in the annual event where they were judged in five timed events: assembly and disassembly of a portable decontamination tent; personal protective equipment donning and the decontamination process of a manikin; a written exam; and the use of a radiation detector to detect radiation on a patient.

“We were well-prepared this year,” said 1st Lt. Eric Bracamonte, SAMMC Decon Team Officer in Charge.

SAMMC’s team competed last year coming in fourth place out of four teams. This year the team was perfect in three events and had the best time in two. SAMMC Decon Team Leader, Sgt. TJ Chavez, assigned to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center credits that to the teams’ determination to goal to win.

“We’ve been training since June,” he said. “But we really ramped up our training during the last month.”

Chavez added that every team in the competition was a winner because it’s all about being trained and prepared when called for a real event requiring the response of the decon team.

“It’s also an excellent opportunity for all of the teams to get together and learn from each other,” he said.

The SAMMC Decon Team trains monthly and has 70 Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the hospital and the USAIS Burn Center trained and ready to respond when the call comes.

“I am very proud of the team’s performance,” said Bracamonte. “They did a great job and I’m confident that we will be able to respond quickly and accurately when needed.”