131st Bomb Wing leads medical training exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John E. Hillier
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen with the 131st Medical Group completed Operation Healthy Delta Innovative Readiness Training, a training exercise for service members from across the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, June 9-23, 2023.
The exercise provided no-cost health care services for communities in Southern Missouri and Illinois, while giving valuable training opportunities for service members that aren’t typically available at their home units.
“The 131st Medical Group was selected to be the lead team for this mission, but it’s a total team effort that we were able to deliver this successful mission to provide excellent care to people who need it,” said Lt. Col. Cristina Fenwick, Officer in Charge of the operation.
The exercise was spread across three sites: Poplar Bluff and Sikeston, Missouri, and Anna, Illinois. More than 2300 people took advantage of the dental, optometry, medical, diet and nutrition, and emotional wellness services provided during the course of the exercise.  The combined value of services provided to these communities as part of Healthy Delta exceed $1.8 million.
The more than 290 service members participating in the exercise were able to accomplish a combined 25,000 hours of training tasks providing healthcare in clinic sites as well as throughout the communities served.
Airman 1st Class Jaycee Davis, a dental technician with the 131st Medical Group, said that she assisted with almost 50 patients over the course of the exercise and appreciated the opportunity to see how similar dental procedures were accomplished by different providers, as well as the experience of working with a team composed of members from the wide variety of service branches participating in Healthy Delta.
“We all worked together well as a team, and we really helped these communities out,” said Davis. “We had one patient who came in almost every single day until she got all of her treatment done. She was one of the first in line every day, and she was so sweet.”
The 131st Medical Group has been participating in Healthy Delta for many years, but the overall success hinges on partner organizations within the local communities served. Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation and Shawnee Development Council were the exercise’s lead community partners in Missouri and Illinois, respectively.
“Our vision and our goal is to work with individuals to provide services they cannot always get on their own. This made a huge impact in our area, saving people from driving many, many miles to get these services individually,” said Denna Williams, Shawnee Development Council executive director. “We’re proud to be a partner with all the service branches involved in this operation. This is an amazing event that’s brought to southern Illinois.”