Operation Lone Star shines once again in South Texas

Story by: Sgt. Praxedis Piñeda
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Posted: August 5, 2015

Operation Lone Star 2015 Medical PhotoMembers of the Texas Military Forces gathered for a five-day emergency preparedness training exercise in South Texas, July 27-31, 2015. Operation Lone Star allows guardsmen, local and state health agencies, and the Department of State Health Services to train together and prepare for a mass casualty disaster.

"We get the opportunity to practice what we do in case of a deployment for a disaster situation," said Texas State Guard 1st Lt. Daniel Steinberg, a personnel officer with 3rd Battalion, Texas Medical Brigade. "At the same time we get to provide medical care for a lot of individuals that don't have the access to that care"

Community members of all ages give the multi-agency healthcare providers the chance to treat civilian patients as they would during a real-world catastrophe.

"It's invaluable for everyone participating, because it's difficult to gain real world experience during training," said Spc. Danielle Schrag, a health care specialist with the Texas Medical Command, Texas Army National Guard. "You immediately see the impact you have on the community."

While conducting vision, physical, dental and other medical exams, healthcare personnel also benefited from the interagency environment. 
"It's my third time doing OLS and every year it’s a little bit different and every year we learn how to effectively manage and communicate amongst other people from different agencies," said Capt. Ryan Sharp, a dentist with the Texas Medical Command.

Together, the supporting agencies provided medical services to more than 9,000 South Texans in Laredo, Palm View, Rio Grande City, San Juan, and Brownsville. The operation has served more than 100,000 people in the last 16 years. 

"This is an excellent service that we're providing for the people of Texas, and it also gives us, as a resource, an excellent opportunity to practice what we may be called upon to do," said Steinberg.