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July 13, 2012

Training

Foreign officers observe Global Medic training exercise at Fort McCoy

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Foreign medical soldiers representing the republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the former Soviet Union observed training by American medical Soldiers during the Global Medic Exercise at Fort McCoy. The training partnership is designed to show them how a western Army functions.
PHOTO: A Soldier explains to the international delegates how the Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopter was used for Global Medic. Photo by MSG Zoevera Jackson
A Soldier from F Company, 7th, 158th Aviation Regiment explains to the international delegates how the Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter was used for Global Medic 2012 in support of the Warrior Exercise. (Photo by Maj. Zoevera Jackson)

Active-duty Army officers Lt. Col. Joseph Gross and Lt. Col. Doug Hurst served as their American escorts. Gross is the chief of the Office of Military Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Hurst is the chief, International Engagements for the 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command of Fort Gillem, Ga.

Eight officers — five from Kyrgyzstan and three from Tajikistan — observed Global Medic scenarios and training from June 15-19 at Fort McCoy. The exercise, which supported the Warrior Exercise, ran from June 9-29.

“Global Medic gave our Central-Asia partners the opportunity to observe and ask questions about a full-scale exercise,” Hurst said. “Throughout the year, they had visited training on a more-local unit level. Observing a full-scale exercise helps them see the bigger picture.”

Hurst said the foreign soldiers observed a variety of activities. They toured a combat support hospital (CSH) and also went to Regional Training Site-Medical to see how it was set up.

PHOTO: Multiple companies work a mass casualty medical evacuation scenario. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Popp
Multiple companies work a mass casualty medical evacuation scenario, reacting to an Improvised Explosive Device and airlifting civilian victims from the scene. (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Popp)

The foreign soldiers also visited a Lanes training scenario to observe how American Soldiers reacted to fire, tended to wounded Soldiers and extracted them from the battlefield.

Gross said a lot of the training was new to the soldiers. At the same time they were observing how American Soldiers reacted, they could think strategically about how the Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan soldiers would react in similar scenarios.

“The countries are strategically important to the U.S. in central Asia to provide counternarcotics and counterterrorism support — as well as Tajikistan providing supply routes for American troops — in the region,” Gross said. “We’re working together to help them improve their capabilities as partners within the system.”

The foreign officers shared their training insights with Maj. Zoevera Jackson, Public Affairs officer for the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) of Forest Park, Ga., and interpreter Vlad Ferkelman of the U.S. State Department.

1st Lt. Ivan Donchenko, the Military Medical Directorate Medical Service chief of Kyrgystan, said, “I learned a lot and I’ve seen a lot (at Fort McCoy), but probably the most interesting day for me was when a doctor (who is an) expert in infectious diseases made a presentation to us about the way to fight infections in combat field hospitals.”

Capt. Mirbek Beisheev, a Medical Service chief for Kyrgyzstan, said among the things he learned was, “For me the skill and the technical equipment of the combat field hospital of how big, how quickly it can all be settled and how many patients (they can treat). Also how many wounded can be treated simultaneously. It was impressive.”

Lt. Col. Akbar Mirzoev, chief of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Control Center, Ministry of Defense, Tajikistan, said “We learned how American troops evacuate their wounded and how the combat field hospital operates and resuscitates all kinds of wounded patients. It was very impressive.”

U.S. Soldiers also benefited from the exchange and will benefit from future exchanges as they observe and learn how foreign soldiers approach their tasks. Gross said future training, for example, may include the foreign personnel participating in the exercise and training the U.S. Soldiers to learn to communicate with personnel who can’t speak English. The foreign soldiers said in critiques that they felt it would greatly benefit them to participate in the training, as well as observe it.

Hurst said the training helps the republics transition from their former status in the Soviet Union to independent republics that work in partnership with the west.

The training helps improve their performance capacity, capability and interoperability, as well as introduces them to Western Doctrine as the republics seek to define their military roles, he said.

“Because this is their first time in the United States, they also are introduced to our culture,” Hurst said. “This included a visit to the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center to see the workings of that system and the professionalism of the people providing care to our Soldiers. They also visited the state capitol in Madison, saw military history and were able to enjoy activities at a water park. They see the respect the Army has and see the Army is here to serve the people and not the other way around. This makes a good first impression.”

Gross said in addition to the immediate benefits, the exchange may have long-range benefits in improving and building the relationships between the countries and the United States as the officers progress in their careers.

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