926th Preventive Medicine Detachment to provide preventive medicine, force health protection in Puerto Rico
By Megan Garcia and Jessica Dupree, Fort Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2017) – Soldiers from the 926th Preventive Medicine Detachment stationed on post flew from Fort Benning on Oct. 2 in support of the Department of Defense’s top priority to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
The 926th helps to provides preventive medicine support and technical consultation during major regional conflicts or humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
“We have two missions,” said Maj. Anthony Robinson, the commander of the 926th. “We have the preventive medicine mission, which is going to be taking care of industrial hygiene, entomology and occupational health in Puerto Rico.”
The detachment will split up into three teams and will send each team out into the various areas needing assistance. One of their main focuses will be to help treat the water in the areas.
“A lot of people are drinking dirty water, so we are going to do a lot of testing to try and get their water systems up and running again,” Robinson said. “We’re also going to do testing for them to make sure things are good to go for the public in regards to sanitation.”
He added they will also be focusing on air qualities.
“People are using generators, so there’s probably a lot of carbon monoxide in the air,” Robinson said. “We can test for gasses. We can test for chemicals. We can do a lot of those things to help the people of Puerto Rico.”
The detachment is also responsible for the Force Health Protection mission of ensuring Soldiers already in Puerto Rico have everything they need as well.
“We will be conducting basecamp assessments to make sure all of the environmental things on the base are good for the Soldiers,” Robinson said.
Robinson added these assessments will also include the evaluation of the water to ensure it is safe to drink as well as the protection of Soldiers from diseases that could be carried by insects.
Private First Class Tajah Cannon, a preventive medicine specialist, said this is his first trip outside of the U.S, and he is ready to get to work in Puerto Rico.
“We’re going to find a way to minimize risk to the population,” Cannon said. I feel like my calling is to help people, so I’m excited for this trip.”