A Different Kind of Field Work
Soldiers in the Army’s Civil Affairs units serve on the front lines of community relationship building and outreach – they’re the liaison between the military and civilian authorities. As such, they need a lot of varied skills – everything from languages, to agriculture, to medicine – and not just of the human variety.
So Ft. Bragg’s 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion and NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine created a pilot program to train Civil Affairs soldiers and medics in some basic veterinary care for farm animals. Similar partnerships have been created between universities and the Army in other states, and NC State had done similar work in the past, but didn’t have a current program.
“We wanted to broaden all of our soldiers’ horizons, and get them familiar with different animal breeds, how to handle them and do basic exams,” says Captain Sarah Luciano, who spearheaded the project with NC State professor of ruminant health Derek Foster.
The pilot program launched in 2014. For three days, soldiers and medics were introduced to sheep, cattle and goats, and taught how to handle and herd the animals, how to do visual examinations of the mouth and face, and how to check for anemia and parasites. The third day of instruction was for medics only, so they could learn to do blood draws and more in-depth exams. In the end, about 75 soldiers left armed with information on basic livestock care that they could use to help communities abroad.
This year, horses were added to the mix.
~By Tracey Peake/NC State News Services