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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit Enhances Combat Effectiveness with Comprehensive Weapons and Threat Recognition Training

by Desmond Martin
13 February 2024 SUFFOLK, Va. - This year, the Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit (FDPMU) participated in a first ever Weapons and Threat Recognition Training Course, specifically designed and tailored for the unit’s unique mission. FDPMU’s are rapidly, deployable, and mobile units that support force health protection, identifying health hazards in various deployable locations around the globe, and working closely with unit commanders and decision-makers to ensure the health and safety of deployed service members to the greatest extent.

The weapons and threat recognition training is conducted to prepare the unit for deployments up to large scale combat operations. “The former Director for Preventive Medicine, Cmdr. George Vancil, of NMCFHPC was the catalyst behind making all this happen,” said Herschel Haynes, an FDPMU operations planner. “He had a vision to introduce these types of hard skills into the training program to increase the unit’s survivability and ensure they all return safely from uncertain, chaotic, and potentially kinetic operations.”

“The FDPMU’s are proven force enablers,” said Vancil. “They have been since their first deployment in 2004 and continued to be in more than eight years at war during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The training received through the course is largely built from that experience and will ensure the FDPMU is able to operate effectively in a distributed maritime operational environment as they perform their combat support role.”

The most recent courses were held in Suffolk, Virginia, in February. During the five-day course, service members were instructed in things like how to recognize threats, and how to predict and prepare for violent action based on identifiable triggers and conditions, and how to clear from dangerous and violent actions. They were also trained on de-escalation methods, and safe and effective use of their weapons system, self-defensive measures, weapons retention, and basic combatives.

“Instruction on the safe and effective use of the FDPMUs weapon systems and lessons on small unit tactics are taught by former Tier One Operators, a worthy training investment to maximize survivability of Navy Medicine’s most vital resource; it’s people,” said Vancil.

The team also received classroom training that included handgun safety procedures, lessons on developing a combat mind set, threat recognition and situational awareness, shooting fundamentals, and case study discussions on low intensity conflicts. During the range portion of the course, service members were trained on shooting effectiveness from multiple positions, behind cover, shooting on the move, and how to perform a tactical reload and how to correct a weapons malfunction. Team members were graded on proper handling and use of their weapon system through the Navy Handgun Qualification where members receive an “E” for expert, “S” for sharpshooter, or “M” for Marksmen, based on how well they handle and operate their weapon systems.

According to Haynes, the selected training facility provides a deep range that allows for several shooters at a time. “This gives the others an opportunity to listen, watch, and learn,” he said. “The training cadre is able to set up scenarios that increase the team members ability to shoot, move, and communicate which adds a touch of reality.”

Following the weapons system training members graduated to a culminating training event where members learn how to safely bailout from a vehicle in contact, while safely moving to a hard point for cover. Once at the hard point the team learned “stacking” maneuvers to safely enter a hard point.

Vancil reiterated, “After receiving this training, FDPMU members can safely and effectively operate their weapon systems, perform their required duties, and execute close quarter combatives if necessary while out in a deployed environment. This makes them, not only an asset in maintaining force health protection, but a force multiplier, able to step in and provide physical security support when and if called upon to do so.”
 
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