Story by MAJ Carter Langston on 09/13/2019The Army veterinarian at the Genesee Country Village and Museum on Sat., Sept. 7 would not vaccinate the sheep, nor would he provide any clinical diagnoses. Instead, he informed a group of U.S. Army Reserve Civil Affairs Soldiers how essential their assistance is to the small community of military veterinarians in foreign assistance and support to civil administration missions.
Major Jeffrey DiMayo, veterinarian for the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion, told the group of B Company Soldiers that veterinary care of livestock has a direct correlation to animal health, economic development and likely human health. Healthy animals yield more food and are more easily traded and sold, which are essential elements in a destabilized foreign nation. Informed Soldiers can help.
"When Civil Affairs teams deploy, it is important they understand how to evaluate livestock and other animals in those nations where we conduct civil military operations," DiMayo said. "Recognizing livestock health signs and symptoms allows Soldiers to assess areas of particular need in foreign assistance missions and provide actionable information for veterinarians."
Called a Veterinary Civic Action Program, or VETCAP, these missions seek to reinforce the capabilities of community animal health workers, ensure livestock health, enhance agriculture and economic stability, and develop trust and confidence within our partner nations.
"When you know what to look for in livestock hygiene and general health, Soldiers have the ability to give veterinarians critical information to ensure a productive engagement," DiMayo said.
While a pleasant day for outdoor training, the unit commander's primary interest was providing realistic training that tangibly benefits Soldiers and adds to their critical thinking skills when such an assessment is needed.
"Conducting a VETCAP is easy training and adds value," said Major Ben Kinney, commander of B Company, 401st Civil Affairs Battalion. "We had a fantastic partner with the Genesee Country Village and Museum, and it exercised our civil affairs skills."
The U.S. Army Reserve comprises about 70 percent of the U.S. Army's Civil Affairs capability within the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. Many of these Soldiers bring civilian occupational experience that task force and combatant commanders need to manage and restore civilian areas impacted by military operations. This includes lawyers, city managers, economists, veterinarians, teachers, policemen, and others who have valuable skills in restoration of governance and essential services.