By Nick Barringer MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS (EIEIO) The Tactical Strength...
Hero of the Week – Team Rubicon
Editor’s note: This piece originally ran a little more than a year ago. It is important to note that since then, Team Rubicon has shifted fire and is now including domestic response as well. Their numbers have swollen from 500 to over 2500 and they are anticipating continued growth over the next several years. If you are a veteran and not a member of Team Rubicon, slap yourself.
By RU Rob
Created in January 2010 in the aftermath of the tragic Haiti earthquake, the badass “Team Rubicon” bridges the critical time gap between large natural disasters and conventional aid response. They provide vanguard medical care by fielding small, self-sustaining, mobile teams of skilled first-responders, including combat veterans, firefighter/paramedics, and medical personnel. To deploy rapidly, they rely heavily on horizontal command structure, social networking technology, and the employment of local nationals.” In its relatively short life, Team Rubicon has been all over the world to Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, and Sudan as well as within the United States, each time in response to some sort of disaster.
There are a couple of things that really stand out about Team Rubicon. First, every member is a volunteer and majority of them are military veterans. The reason they utilize veterans is best explained by them…”On the streets of Port-au-Prince, TR’s military veterans had an epiphany: natural disasters present the same problems that face troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, and horrific sights, sounds and smells. The skills cultivated on those same battlefields—emergency medicine, risk assessment and management, teamwork and decisive leadership –are invaluable in disaster zones.”
In the span of just over a year and a half, Team Rubicon has grown to a cadre of almost 500 and is still receiving applications. Those are 500 people who are willing to drop what they are doing and head out to some pretty shitty conditions of a disaster zone all in the name of humanitarianism. This is also why veterans are a perfect fit for the calling. No where else in the world can you draw from a pool of highly trained candidates who are not only willing to live in crappy situations but can thrive and use their combat experiences to assist in the saving of lives.
Second, Team Rubicon makes McGyver look like McGruber! The highly trained field medical professionals make due with what they have to treat any possible case presented; up to and including field surgeries. All of the equipment and supplies utilized by Team Rubicon are donated or procured by cash donations. When they find themselves in a situation that requires more than what they have; they do what every service member does best, “Ranger the Fuck Up”. In crisis situations, this can be the critical time frame in which a life is saved or lost.
Another asset Team Rubicon has is its size and mobility. Because TR operates in small fire-team type elements it is able to, and routinely goes, where large relief organizations often take weeks to reach. Combine that with their approach to social media by utilizing the latest in satellite communications, TR is able to convey situation reports of remote areas to help create the “bigger picture”.
Most recently, Team Rubicon had boots on the ground 14 hours after the deadly tornados ravaged Joplin, Missouri. Drawing from their volunteer corps, they were soon at work helping with search and rescue and clearing debris. The word quickly spread through the veteran community that they were there, and soon TR was busting at the seams with volunteers asking to do nothing more than help.
Lastly, Team Rubicon has dedicated its stance to help in the transition of this great nation’s warrior back from active duty and into their respective communities and are passionate in the help and treatment of those who suffer the horrific effects of PTSD. Team Rubicon is always looking for another few god men and women to add to their ranks, the next catastrophe could be minutes away.
Team Rubicon, your willingness to step up and go where others fear, and your dedication to the veterans of America is absolutely out-freaking-standing in the eyes of Ranger Up. You have earned yourself our moniker of Hero of the Week! Thank you and keep up the good work!