Back to Top Skip to main content

Medical logistics Airmen enable lifesaving skills at NATO exercise

Civilian first responders from Romania participate along with Airmen from the 86th Medical Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in a multinational medical exercise drill during Vigorous Warrior 19, Cincu Military Base, Romania. Vigorous Warrior 19 is NATO’s largest military medical exercise, uniting more than 2,500 participants from 39 countries to exercise experimental doctrinal concepts and test their medical assets together in a dynamic, multinational environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton) Civilian first responders from Romania participate along with Airmen from the 86th Medical Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in a multinational medical exercise drill during Vigorous Warrior 19, Cincu Military Base, Romania. Vigorous Warrior 19 is NATO’s largest military medical exercise, uniting more than 2,500 participants from 39 countries to exercise experimental doctrinal concepts and test their medical assets together in a dynamic, multinational environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Medical Logistics | Global Health Engagement

CINCU, Romania— Approximately 50 Airmen from the 86th Medical Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, travelled to Cincu Military Base, Romania, to participate in the NATO-led medical exercise Vigorous Warrior 19.

During Vigorous Warrior’s week-long battery of realistic medical drills – choreographed to test doctrinal concepts and stress the medical assets of participating NATO partner countries – these Airmen operated an expeditionary medical support system, or EMEDS, designated by NATO as a “Role 2” field hospital under its four-tiered stratification of medical care.

The EMEDS is a compact, modular hospital unit designed to be deployed rapidly, with the capability to receive patients within six hours of arrival within an area of responsibility.

For every minute that the Air Force medical team trains in the administration of patient care, a team of five highly-professional logisticians spends an equal amount of time fine-tuning the infrastructure and support equipment that enables a high posture of readiness for the EMEDS assemblage.

“Our logistics specialists are charged with an enormous amount of responsibility,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Cody Hess, 86th Medical Support Squadron commander. “They ensure all of the support equipment for the EMEDS is functional and in the right spot at the right time, so that when it’s time to perform our mission, our team of providers has exactly what they need to save lives.”

For the logistics specialists, this means they are often the first to the site at the beginning of a workday – and last to leave.

“When we get to the site in the morning, we start with our equipment functionality checks,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Cavenaugh, 86th MDSS biomedical equipment technician. “None of the medical specialists can do their job without power, so we check the generators first; then the power boxes, distribution panels, and heating and air conditioning units to make sure everything’s good to go.”

From that point on, Cavenaugh says it’s nearly impossible to predict how an equipment technician’s day will play out because of the many troubleshooting and support services they may be called upon to perform in their jack-of-all-trades profession.

“Most of the day comes down to walking around, checking to see what people need,” Cavenaugh said. “The EMEDS needs a lot of things to run smoothly, so it’s constant problem solving and making things happen.”

During peak operations, the logistics team augments the EMEDS staff by carrying litters and facilitating patient flow.

“We take all of the extra demands in stride,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Drew Robinson, 86th MDSS logistics flight superintendent. “Our motto is ‘whatever it takes,’ and that’s what we live by.”

Airmen from the 86th Medical Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, participate in a multinational medical exercise drill during Vigorous Warrior 19, Cincu Military Base, Romania. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton)
Airmen from the 86th Medical Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, participate in a multinational medical exercise drill during Vigorous Warrior 19, Cincu Military Base, Romania. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton)

While Robinson’s team is an integral piece of the day-to-day mission at Vigorous Warrior 19, a bulk of their contributions to the exercise will ultimately take place before and after the EMEDS is operational.

“One aspect of the EMEDS that’s really hard to fathom is how compact the system is,” Robinson said. “It’s designed to be transportable in ten pallet positions, so that the complete package, including equipment and staff, can be transported on one C-17 cargo aircraft.”

Robinson said that a particular challenge in transporting the EMEDS from the 86th MDG’s base in Germany for Vigorous Warrior was that the exercise’s remote location in rural Romania made the option of military airlift impossible. This required the normal transportation pallets to be re-configured for movement on European-style cargo vehicles. Robinson and his team responded to the challenge with a typical “can-do” spirit.

“We ended up re-packing everything into sixteen European pallet positions,” Robinson said. “It’s more than forty tons of equipment, not counting the forklift, which is 26,000 pounds by itself. The generators are the heaviest things we have at 6,900 pounds each.”

Once established, the EMEDS’s efficient flow of patient care was plainly visible as the field hospital began receiving “patients” Sunday with the exercise’s initial scenario inputs.

After undergoing initial triage at the Role 2 site, Romanian soldiers, acting as casualties in realistic moulage, were processed through the EMEDS emergency room where they received an evaluation for surgical needs. Once in the surgery room, a team of experts including internal medicine specialists, an orthopedic surgeon and an anesthetist stood by to respond depending on the diagnosis.

Under NATO’s system of medical care, battlefield patients would be initially treated with basic life-saving care at a Role 1 facility. From there, they would commonly be transported by ambulance to a Role 2 field hospital for the type of emergency room and initial surgical care provided by the EMEDS.

In addition to the ER room, surgery room and patient holding area, the EMEDS has a command and control section, where administration and coordination takes place for follow-on treatment at a Role 3 specialist care center, normally maintained at major bases and installations at the theater level. Under NATO, a Role 4 center would later provide definitive specialized treatment, likely in the patient’s country of origin.

“As all of this is being done, tracking and documentation is taking place to document what point each patient is at in the process,” Hess said. “There’s also coordination for evacuation and to always answer the questions, ‘how do we stabilize this patient, and how do we get them to the next level of care?’”

Vigorous Warrior 19 provides a dynamic space for providers to rehearse this process, in which every second can make the difference between life and death. Uniting more than 2,500 providers from 39 countries, the exercise is so far the largest medical readiness event in NATO’s history.

Hess says that while the exercise will be highlighted by cooperation between multinational civilian and military counterparts, with the goal of increasing interoperability across nationalities, he expects the 86th MDG team to take away plenty of practical wisdom about the implementation and setup of the EMEDS, as well.

“A number of the Airmen on this trip have not deployed before, so this is their first time operating with the EMEDS package in an expeditionary setting,” Hess said. “This is the perfect opportunity for them to become more familiar with the workflow that the EMEDS provides and how to set it up most effectively, not only for the patient, but also to allow the staff to work with the patients more efficiently.”

This year marks the fifth iteration of Vigorous Warrior, which has grown significantly from its beginning in 2011 with five countries. The exercise is organized by the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, headquartered in Budapest, Hungary.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

How The U.S. Military Is Contributing To The Fight Against Cholera In Mozambique

Video
4/16/2019
Air Force Capt. Talon Miner, a flight surgeon assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, discusses the role that the U.S. Department of Defense is undertaking to combat the spread of Cholera in Mozambique.

Air Force Capt. Talon Miner, a flight surgeon assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Global Health Security Agenda | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability | Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Bringing Comfort 2018

Video
10/17/2018
The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement

MHS Minute September 2018

Video
9/21/2018
MHS Minute September 2018

Interested in hearing about some exciting events that took place around the Military Health System last month? Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

Video
10/5/2017
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

Video
4/11/2017
U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Access to Health Care

Trauma Innovations

Video
3/23/2017
Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

Video
3/22/2017
U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

Video
3/7/2017
The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss

Exercise Immediate Response 16

Video
1/13/2017
Exercise Immediate Response 16

Soldiers and Airmen practice combat trauma care with allied and partner nation medical service members at Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, as part of exercise Immediate Response.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

How is the U.S. Military Dealing with Zika?

Video
6/7/2016
Zika image

The Defense Department is closely monitoring the spread of the Zika virus and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist in virus surveillance, response and research efforts.

Recommended Content:

Zika Virus | Global Health Engagement | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Any clime and place: Sailors bring hospital knowledge to the field

Video
5/19/2016
Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion got out of their comfort zone and conducted a week-long training exercise at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The aim of the training is to teach Sailors the basic skillset and gear familiarization of shock trauma platoon in a deployed environment.

Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion got out of their comfort zone and conducted a week-long training exercise known as a Health Service Augmentation Program at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 18-22, 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Racing to save lives at Steel Knight

Video
12/28/2015
Hospital corpsmen and Marines check a simulated casualty and remove their body armor during Exercise Steel Night’s mass casualty drill at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 12, 2015. The drill tested the 1st Marine Division’s ability to react to a large influx of injuries and wounds from battling the enemy. Steel Knight provides tough, realistic training for the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division.

Corpsmen and Marines rehearsed life-saving skills during Exercise Steel Knight’s mass casualty drill, Dec. 12, 2015. Steel Knight provides tough, realistic training for the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Global Medic 2015

Video
10/28/2015
Global Medic 2015

U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and British Army Reserve Soldiers participate in one of the largest medical exercises of its kind.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
<< < 1 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 13 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.