Ft. Bliss and Sierra Providence reaffirms their community agreement
Story and photos by Ricky J Carrasco
On February 25th, management team members of Sierra Providence East Medical Center and the soldiers of the 4/27th Field Artillery Battalion met in Fort Bliss to re-affirm their on-going agreement as community partners. The partnership, more than two years old, is specifically with various divisions of the 1st Armored Division and the eastside hospital and is meant as a professional and community “good neighbors” partnership. Various armored vehicles and artillery pieces like the M777 towed cannons were on display to the public and the soldiers who run the equipment were present to answer questions about their duties and equipment.
After presentations by both parties, various official documents were signed by heads of the military and civilian sectors promising their continuous partnership for the betterment of the El Paso community. Afterwards, the soldiers showed off their equipment, most noticeably the new 155mm rocket assisted rounds fired from the Howitzers, that greatly improve their range and accuracy.
One facet of the partnership is the continuing presence of both entities is serving the El Paso community as a whole, as well as each other. The hospital serves the rapidly expanding Far East side of El Paso that has seen many military families moving in. It also participates in health education programs on-base. The base shows its presence by participating in various community events hosted by the hospital network. In one such event last year, a “Think Pink” cancer walk to honor a local survivor, Fort Bliss sent a marching regiment to march alongside the participating civilians.
Jody Coward, SPEMC’s military liaison, stated that Friday’s event “strengthens the already strong bond between base and the hospital. We look forward to many years of cooperation with Ft. Bliss.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Moretti, Commander of the 4/27th “Iron Thunder” battalion, stated how part of the Brigade Modernization Command’s mission will be the testing and evaluation of new military equipment. Any new equipment pieces like any armored carriers and attack vehicles like the Paladin cannon system and its accompanying Howitzer cannons will first have to survive El Paso’s desert heat and dust conditions before being put into action in the fields of Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East. “If this equipment cannot survive El Paso, it cannot survive the desert warfare overseas. The Army needs to know that all new equipment is battle-ready and can withstand the rigors of battles, now and into the future. ”
The event starts off a series of events planned for the remainder of the year to further reinforce the bond between the military base and the city of El Paso. The next event will involve a sort of an “open house” where the division will field test their equipment on their desert firing ranges. Members of the SPEMC and other El Paso civilians will be invited to participate and view the exercises.