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NEWS | Oct. 2, 2023

Public Health Command-Pacific Hosts Leadership Offsite in Okinawa

Command Teams with PHC-P joined several technical service directors and key leaders for a momentous and long-awaited "Trident" leadership offsite at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 10–14, 2023.

This four-day offsite was a historic occasion, marking the first in-person event like this in recent memory, a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The timing of this offsite was particularly significant, aligning with recent changes in activity leadership, as four out of six PHC-P Activities welcomed new Command Teams this year.

This gathering was an opportunity to facilitate face-to-face interactions among senior leaders across the command, foster a shared understanding of the PHC-P mission and vision, and ensure alignment on the crucial public health mission encompassing the strategic Pacific area of operations. This collaborative effort was conducted closely with the Medical Readiness Command, Pacific, represented by its Chief of Staff, Col. Edgar Arroyo, in attendance.

According to Col. Brad Franklin, PHC-P commander, a primary focus of the offsite was "to highlight how PHC-P supports Joint Force medical readiness within the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility with Veterinary Services and Technical Service Line unique capabilities as part of the PHC-P vision of maximizing readiness through One Health."

Franklin further emphasized the wealth of knowledge and expertise within PHC-P, noting its commendable track record in supporting the Joint Force in the Pacific. He also focused on aligning efforts and enhancing communication to bolster support and force health protection for our warfighters and beneficiaries throughout the Department of Defense. These efforts, he underlined, are pivotal to the future of Army public health support to the Joint Force.

Franklin, alongside Sgt. Maj. Bradford Webster took the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of PHC-P over the last year. These achievements extended to individual soldiers who completed Master Fitness and Master Resiliency Trainings and earned Arctic tabs, Air Assault badges, and Expert Field Medical badges. Franklin noted his commitment to continue encouraging and highlighting these accomplishments as the command maintains its unwavering focus on readiness over the next 12 months and beyond.

Col. Greg Reppas, PHC-P deputy commander, explained the strategic significance of hosting the offsite in Okinawa—the first time a PHC-P offsite occurred across the international date line.

"The Trident's Leadership Offsite presented an ideal opportunity to enable our leaders to bond, learn about INDOPACOM's complex mission set, and grapple with the challenges of operating on both sides of the international date line," said Reppas. "It was important to host the event in Okinawa and see firsthand the logistics, communication, and coordination it takes for a command that extends seven time zones and 24 countries under the same mission of force health protection in the Pacific to come together in one place and discuss the future."

Following two days of strategic briefs and formative discussions, all attendees participated in a history tour focused on the Battle of Okinawa. The excursion took them to sites of historical significance, including the Peace Prayer Park, Okinawa War Museum, Japanese Naval HQ Underground, and Hacksaw Ridge.

"Okinawa was the last major ground battle in World War II, greatly impacting its final chapter," said Webster. "The PHC-P command teams walked the same battlefields and saw the challenges that the Soldiers and Marines faced fighting on a determined enemy on a Pacific island."

He added, "Our Command teams were able to draw parallels to potential future problem sets and see that many of the challenges faced on Okinawa are still relevant on today and tomorrow's battlefield."

PHC-P enables readiness by providing forward-stationed, geographically postured medical forces to conserve the fighting strength through the provision of force health protection and veterinary services to the joint force, families, and beneficiaries throughout USINDOPACOM.