The Bayonet

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

19th Medical Detachment (Optometry) set to deactivate

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The 14th Combat Support Hospital's 19th Medical Detachment (Optometry) will have an inactivation ceremony Sept. 3.

The inactivation ceremony is important because it is a time-honored tradition that allows the unit to be recognized for its service to the Army, no matter how small the unit may be, said Capt. César A. Costales, the detachment's commander for the last 13 months.

Activated here in October 2008, the 19th Medical Detachment (Optometry) is one of 11 Optometry Detachments in the Army designed to perform split-based operations, which are when simultaneous missions are conducted in two distinct areas.

In October 2009, the unit deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Assigned to the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, the Soldiers provided optometry and optical fabrication support to Multinational Division-North, which covered the northern third of Iraq.

Costales said the unit deployed to Joint Base Balad and Camp Taji in two teams, which included an optometrist, optometry technician, and an optical fabrication specialist.

They also executed several optometry support missions to outlying forward operating bases. During the deployment, the detachment provided combat optometry operations that completed 7,759 patient encounters, while dispensing 4,677 optical devices.

The detachment redeployed to Fort Benning in August 2010 and received a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

At Fort Benning, the 19th Medical Detachment has supported the tenant units as well as its community of trainees, Family members and retirees, Costales said.

"I was blessed to have a strong group of Soldiers who were extremely dedicated to the unit mission and set the standard for good order and discipline," Costales said. "The inactivation is bittersweet for all the Soldiers of the 19th Medical Detachment. Many of the Soldiers have spent over two years in this unit and have come to know the 19th as Family."

Those Soldiers who don't PCS will move into other positions within the 14th CSH.

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