MTU ensures post-deployment Marines are physically, mentally well

19 Aug 2010 | Lnce Cpl. Victor Barrera

Once Marines return from an overseas deployment they are typically welcomed back by friends and family. While some may ask, “How was it?” or “Did you do anything cool?”, the Mobile Training Unit asks theses combat veterans important questions to ensure they are not only physically fit, but mentally sound.

“The Mobile Testing Unit is part of the post-deployment health re-assessment and is the last in a series of deployment assessments,” said Cmdr. Deb Sweetman, department head for the Deployment Health Center, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. “The purpose of the truck is to take the screening team directly to the unit, reducing time away from the workspace and increasing valuable training time for the Marines.”

Recently, Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, who had just returned from a deployment went through the MTU as part of their post-deployment processing. The test is usually taken 90 days after returning home.

During the test, service members are asked a variety of questions about injuries they may have received while deployed, mental concerns, and personal matters they may want to discuss.

“If they have a mental health issue that requires attention, we can put referrals into the system, which allows for the service member to be seen promptly,” said Beth Weppner, a physician’s assistant with the MTU.

So far, there is only one MTU, and it is already making a contribution to the Navy and Marine Corps. The MTU is mobile, but service members can walk into Bldg. 326 anytime from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

The MTU was recently painted and now proudly sports a desert camouflage pattern with the Navy and Marine Corps seals. The interior of the unit is equipped with six computers, where service members can take a test and two smaller office spaces where Weppner among other workers can talk to Marines, if needed.

“The feedback we get is generally positive,” said Weppner. “Some are glad we were able to put in a referral promptly and were also appreciative of the fast service.”

For more information about the Mobile Testing Unit, contact Ron Goforth at 449-9123.