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1st Theater Sustainment Command

News Stories

1st TSC Medical readiness expert enhances unit readiness across Fort Knox

By Staff Sgt. Brina Jenkins | 1st Theater Sustainment Command | April 25, 2024


A patient administration specialist in the 1st Theater Sustainment Command works hard to ensure Soldiers and DA civilians are ready to deploy across Fort Knox.     

With 1st TSC's enduring mission requirements to deploy or travel to theater, there is a constant demand for Soldiers to ensure they are medically ready.  Ensuring Soldier and Department of the Army civilians assigned to the command are up to date on these requirements is something Shannon Smith, part of the Command Surgeon staff, takes seriously.   

The 1st TSC is an Army two-star command based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with a forward headquarters at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait that provides command and control of Army deployment and sustainment operations conducted in support of joint and multinational operations across the range of military operations. Since 2006, the 1st TSC has been perpetually deployed to the U.S. Army Central area of operations and conducts and manages sustainment operations at bases in 21 countries in the middle east.

Smith is a part of the Command Surgeon directorate serving as the only patient administration specialist— but her health care story doesn’t start there. 

“I always knew since I was a child that I wanted to work in health care,” Smith said. After completing 4 years in the United States Navy, she worked in several nursing homes in Kentucky providing around the clock care as a certified nursing assistant. She was then accepted into a nursing program at Galen College where she became a registered nurse. While her husband was still serving in the Navy, she was hired at Ireland Army Health Clinic where she worked for 13 years. “Some of my greatest memories are from working there,” Smith shared. “Honestly, it was taking care of Soldiers and making sure their records were updated and that they knew what needed to happen next with their care.”

While working at Ireland, she worked closely with members of the 1st TSC deployment cell, as well as many other Soldiers across Fort Knox. The deployment cell is a section within the Special Troops Battalion that oversees all outgoing Soldiers and ensures they are medically and administratively ready; and have all of their required equipment they need before their arrival to theater.  With the connection she had developed over the years, she learned that there was a job opportunity to serve at the 1st TSC.

“When I first applied for this position, I did not get it,” Smith said. “Someone else was selected.” While someone else was originally selected for the job, the person ended up taking another opportunity—making it available for Smith to become a part of the First Team. “There is no such thing as a typical day when I’m here— every day is always different.” Smith shared. 
While Smith supports medical readiness and in/out processing for 1st TSC Soldiers most of the week, she also works at the Soldier Readiness Program building on Fort Knox—extending her expertise assisting Soldiers in the Army Reserve and National Guard, working alongside Ireland Health Clinic employees. 

On Wednesdays the SRP building opens for Soldier walk-ins where it allows Soldiers without appointments update medical readiness requirements, which includes hearing, vision, and periodic health assessments. Smith sees anywhere from 60-75 personnel—assisting with the pre-screening process. 

“I really don’t mind how busy it gets,” she said. “I enjoy helping Soldiers.” 

Smith’s been at the 1st TSC for only a year, but during that time she’s made a massive impact on Soldier readiness, not only for the 1st TSC, but also for the Fort Knox community. Smith is grateful for being welcomed at the command and was recognized with the Civilian Service Achievement Medal for her work here.

The 1st TSC is America’s only permanently deployed sustainment command in the Middle East that works alongside host nation allies and regional security partners to provide Army, Joint, and multinational sustainment solutions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to deliver predictive and precise joint logistics, human resources, finance, health service support, and contracting capabilities to set and sustain the theater for multi-domain operations in competition or crisis.