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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Training with weapons -- to save lives

REGION

"I haven't carried this much weight since I was pregnant," said Major Diana Hoek, 48, a dietitian from Sherborn.

She could be carrying her heavy combat gear for months.

Hoek and other Globe West residents are part of the 399th Combat Support Hospital, a Massachusetts-based Army Reserve unit of predominantly surgeons, nurses, paramedics and lab technicians.

The unit's training was described in a front-page story today. The unit, which is to reach Iraq in mid-autumn, has to train with weapons to learn to protect themselves and their patients, a contrast with their lifesaving mission.

Staff Sgt. Kirk Wolloff, 30, an X-ray technician from Medway trained on how to move under direct fire.

"It's great, it's wonderful," he said. "I really love swallowing and and grit. It adds crunch to my bland life."

Specialist John Sheehan of Newton is another Globe West member of the unit. He's pictured playing the role of an injured person in an audio slideshow accompanying the story.

grenadethrow.jpg

(Specialist Alessandro Licopoli, of Yuba City, Calif., practiced throwing grenades during training exercises at Fort McCoy, Wis., last month, Globe Staff Photo by Dominic Chavez)


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