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JTC provides high level of care

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — With a considerable number of service members deployed at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, it takes a large number of doctors, dentists and nurses to treat any injury or ailment that might prevent them from completing their mission.
The task of helping to care for the bumps, bruises and sprained ankles of service members deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo falls to the Joint Trooper Clinic.
Although many people think the JTF medical staff’s primary mission is the health and well-being of the detainees at Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s detention facilities, their focus is not purely on detainee well-being. They also assist in caring for personnel who may have medical needs ranging from toothaches to broken bones.
“[The JTC] is a split responsibility between the [525th Military Police Battalion and the Joint Medical Group]. The [525th] provides doctors and medics, and [the JMG] provides some hospital corpsmen, dental technicians and dentists,” said Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Steven Wheeler, JMG senior enlisted leader.
The staff of the JTC is comprised of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.
While members of the medical staff may only be deployed for six-month or one-year rotations, their time here gives them invaluable experience working in a joint atmosphere.
“This has been my first joint environment;” added Wheeler. “I have had to learn how the Army and Air Force do things. The entire experience has been excellent,”.
With his group here for such a short period of time, Wheeler stresses that staying focused at all times is a constant goal for his team.
“Our challenges are ever-changing and they come in waves. When we first arrived here, we had to make sure that all of our [service members] were up to speed on the JTF standards and that everyone was learning that standard,” said Wheeler.
Aside from treating service members ailments, the JMG also has the eyes of the world on them as they provide 24/7 medical care including general surgical, dental care, preventive medicine, routine care, mental health services and specialty care for detainees.
Wheeler stresses that while conditions may be different; the standard of care rendered to everyone is the same across the board.
“It doesn’t matter if they are a detainee or a service member. The only thing that changes in regards to medical care is the way it is handled. That is because with a detainee we have additional safety measures that we have to be aware of,” said Wheeler.
Those high standards of safe and humane treatment of all people are evident everywhere that medical care is provided around the JTF. Wheeler credits his team’s performance and their willingness to accept new challenges in their jobs.
“We try to rotate our guys through both the detainee hospital and the JTC in order to provide them with a broad level of experience in order to increase the effectiveness of the care that is given,” concluded Wheeler.

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