1st Close Health Battalion
The role of 1 CHB is to provide Close Combat Health support to FORCOMD IOT provide synchronised health effect within the FORCOMD Force Generation Cycle (FGC) IAW directed readiness levels. 1 CHB is responsible for initial and advanced treatment, including collection from POI, resuscitation, stabilisation and evacuation, and emergency diagnostics to land forces as far forward as possible. The key tasks include the following:
- Health C2
- Primary health care
- First aid
- On-route care
- Casualty staging
- Patient holding
- Rehabilitation / reconditioning
- Centralised management of CHS for RTS
- Management of combat class VIII
- Augmentation of Garrison Health Services
1 CHB Main Effort is the Readying Cycle this will be achieved through the following events:
- Force generation of CHS effects to DLOC IAW the FGC.
- Synchronisation of CHS effects to achieve 1 CHB Main Effort aligned with FORCOMD priorities.
- Establishment of an annual individual training cycle that ensures 1 CHB members comply with the individual and collective directed Training Level Standards.
- Establishment of an enhanced readiness culture, underpinned by individual readiness, good governance, effective training, continuous development and strong leadership at all levels.
1 CHB has its historical roots dating back to Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In April 1966 during the Vietnam War the 2nd Field Ambulance was raised at Vang Tau. A year later, 8th Field Ambulance took over from 2nd Field Ambulance. Another year on, 1 April 1968, 1st Australian Field Hospital was raised and took over the Australian military hospital at Vang Tau from 8th Field Ambulance. In December 1971 the unit returned to Australia and was located at Manunda Lines, Ingleburn in New South Wales, Australia. At this time, the unit name was changed to the 1st Field Hospital (1 FD Hosp).
In January 1996, 1 FD Hosp was relocated to a purpose built medical facility at the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney. On 16 August 2000, 1 FD Hosp underwent another name change to the 1st Health Support Battalion (1HSB).
On 1 November 2011 the essence of 1 HSB changed dramatically when as part of the Army Health Support Force Modernisation it became the 1st Close Health Battalion comprising of a headquarters element and three Close Health Companies (CHCs). The CHCs were primarily comprised of the health companies that had previously formed part of 1, 3 and 7 CSSBs augmented with the medical personnel that would have previously been posted to battalion RAPs. This rebalancing of close combat health assets is designed to provide the required number of mission capable, robust organisations that are able to deliver well planned, coordinated combat health effects to dependant BG and enabling land FE.
1 CHB BHQ remained in its current location at Holsworthy with 2 CHC in Townsville, 8 CHC in Darwin and 11 CHC in Brisbane. In addition a Close Health Platoon (CHP) from 8 CHC is located in Adelaide. The CHCs can trace their lineage back to the days of the Field Ambulance (Fd Amb), 2 CHC began life as 2 Fd Amb, 8 CHC as 8 Fd Amb and 11 CHC as 11 Fd Amb.
Members of the unit have served on almost every Australian Defence Force Operation and humanitarian deployment in the last 20 years.