Texas Military Forces Deploy in Support of Texas Public Health and Humanitarian Exercise
More than 300 members of the Texas Military Forces will begin deployment this weekend to the Texas’ Rio Grande valley for Operation Lone Star (OLS). In its 13th year, Operation Lone Star is a collaborative medical services project that unites federal, state and county health and human service agencies, Texas Military Forces, local service groups and volunteers in one of the largest public health humanitarian efforts in the country.
Operation Lone Star involves the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard, and the Laredo Public Health Services, Hidalgo County Health Services and Starr County Health Services. For the first time this year a contingent of medical personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service will participate as well.
“For the Texas State Guard’s Medical Brigade and the Texas Army National Guard’s 111th Multifunctional Medical Brigade, Operation Lone Star is a vital training mission providing hands-on experience in delivering mass medical care in partnership with local public health authorities, “ said Col. Donald Prince, commander of the Joint Task Force OLS. “ It’s an incredible opportunity to improve our emergency medical response capabilities while at the same time addressing the medical needs of thousands of underserved Texas residents.”
The exercise runs from July 25 to Aug. 7, 2011. During the first week of the exercise, July 25th- 29th, medical treatment centers will be established at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in San Juan, Palmview High School in Mission, Ringgold Middle School in Rio Grande City, and Manzano Middle School in Brownsville. During the second week, Aug. 1st-5th, medical treatment centers will be established at the Laredo Civic Center in Laredo and the Hebbronville High School in Hebbronville. Additionally, services will be available at the Rio Bravo City Hall in Rio Bravo on Aug 3rd and 4th.
The medical services provided during Operation Lone Star include immunizations, blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, diabetes screenings, hearing and vision exams, physicals for students and adults, limited dental services, and limited pharmacy products. For many, this is the only time they get to visit with a doctor.
In 2010, Operation Lone Star delivered medical services to more than 12,000 people.