DJIBOUTI - Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines gathered to take part in a week-long Field Sanitation Team Training (FSTT) course at Camp Lemonnier, Feb. 13-17, 2017.
The concept of the field sanitation team was first established in the U.S. Army during World War II as a means to control malaria. Today, the practice has expanded to include a wide variety of field sanitation practices proven to mitigate disease and non-battle related injuries.
Training in areas such as water purification, pest management, hot and cold weather injury prevention and proper waste disposal help to improve the general health and welfare of military personnel, thus increasing mission accomplishment.
Acquiring these skills may not be glamorous, but it greatly enhances the capability to operate in austere environments. This type of training in particular can benefit those who are assigned to duty and missions on the African continent.
February’s FSTT was the first attended by military members from every service branch operating at Camp Lemonnier. It was also the first to include a partner nation representative with the participation of a French military member.
U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Pauline Jones, preventative medicine technician with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa surgeon cell and FSTT course instructor, considered the diversity to be beneficial to everyone involved.
“I learned so much from the different [military] branches, and in this case from our French counterpart as well,” said Jones. “Although the type of conditions we are exposed to may vary, at the end of the day our mission is the same.”
Though not exposed to field sanitation in her normal duties, U.S. Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Amy Neece, budget analyst for Camp Lemonnier, expressed great interest in learning how other branches sustain themselves in a field environment.
“I had no idea how much planning is involved in field sanitation,” Neece said. “The amount of work that occurs behind the scenes to make even common tasks, such as using the latrine or taking a shower, more manageable in a field environment is amazing.”
The FSTT course culminated with an exam covering the various topics presented during the week. Upon passing the exam, students were presented with a certificate signifying their completion of the course. Participating Soldiers were also awarded points toward their promotion because of the U.S. Army’s requirement for trained field sanitation teams.
According to Jones, whether a service member attends for promotion points, or simply for self-improvement, the knowledge alone is a significant force multiplier.
“When it comes to sanitation and health, just knowing what to do and how to do it can benefit anyone and everyone,” said Jones.