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Iowa Air train in Puerto Rico providing no cost medical care

Omaha Nebraska resident Technical Sgt. Jessica Martinez 185th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group, Iowa Air National Guard, talks with a patient at the site of care in Ponce, Puerto Rico on April 29, 2019.

Omaha Nebraska resident Technical Sgt. Jessica Martinez 185th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group, Iowa Air National Guard, talks with a patient at the site of care in Ponce, Puerto Rico on April 29, 2019. Martinez is doing double duty as a dental technician and translator as part the Air National Guard’s Innovative Readiness Training in Puerto Rico taking place from April 25 to May 8, 2019.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Iowa National Guard Airmen are providing no-cost medical care to civilians in Puerto Rico this week as part of the Air National Guard Innovative Readiness Training program.

The goal of the IRT program is to provide realistic training while at the same time administering no-cost medical care for medically underserved people in Puerto Rico.

Airmen from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing based in Sioux City, Iowa are providing medical care in the U.S. territory during a two-week medical exercise conducted jointly with several other Guard and Reserve medical units from around the nation.

The 185th Medical Clinic is the lead unit during the training where clinicians have set up areas to perform medical examinations as well as dental and optometry care in community centers of six different communities. The clinics are set up in the Puerto Rican communities of Ponce, Jayuya, Maricao, Mayagüez, Yauco, and Lares.

The Innovative Readiness Training was initially created in 1992 as a way to provide realistic training in a joint environment to prepare U.S. military members to perform similar duties during a crisis at home or abroad.

During their time in Puerto Rico, the medical teams are performing hands-on, mission-essential training while simultaneously providing health care to communities around the island.

Events that are a part of the readiness training program like the one in Puerto Rico this week also aim to provide a critical link between the military and members of the civilian community where the services are being offered.

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