In partnership with the Chad Armed Forces, U.S. Army Africa and a team of Army medical professionals conducted Medical Readiness Training Exercise 14-5 at the Hospital Military D’Instruction (HMI) in N’Djamena, Chad, June 2-12.
Army health care providers from U.S. Army Medical Department’s 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) combined their knowledge and experience to work hand-in-hand with their Chadian counterparts. These included Army Professional Medical Command, Forest Park, Ga.; 75th Combat Support Hospital, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; 405th Combat Support Hospital, Hartford, Conn.; 407th Ambulance Company, Puerto Rico; and the 1493rd Medical Detachment - Combat Stress Control, Durham, N.C.
“This exercise was intended to establish a relationship with the Chadian military medical team of doctors, nurses, surgeons, and medics,” said Col. Robert C. Nataloni, commander of the 405th Combat Support Hospital. “It helped us learn how to operate in an austere medical environment.”
MEDRETE 14-5 was an opportunity to work with Chadian medical personnel on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Advanced Trauma Life Support. The immersion of both medical forces helped each teach the other how to handle different medical situations in two distinct environments.
“This exercise helped U.S. providers in treating patients, seeing patients, and operating in an environment that does not exist in the U.S,” said Lt. Col. Sean M. Siler, commander of the 1493rd medical detachment Combat Stress Control. “This was a great learning value for us because we simply are not able to see the type of injuries and diseases that are in Chad.”
U.S. combat medics also worked with their Chadian counterparts during TCCC training to go over life saving techniques and learn how to implement trauma care on the battlefield. During the training, Chadian medics shared how they treat casualties in the field.
“Chadian combat medics are very aware of their resources,” said Maj. Charles C. Boggs, a surgeon with the Army Professional Medical Command. “They know how to improvise and adapt with what they have.” While combat medics were having hands-on training on life saving tasks, doctors and surgeons were having interactive ATLS training. U.S. doctors tailored their training to meet the demands of what Chadian doctors see on an everyday basis.
Siler explained, “the last two weeks in Chad have been an eye opening experience seeing that my medical partners here deal with many of the same patient challenges I deal with in a much more simple yet effective manner.” MEDRETE 14-5 promoted regional relationships, increased capacity, trained U.S. and Chadian doctors, and furthered cross-training and interoperability.
“It was an incredible and excellent professional experience,” Siler said. “I would do it again and strongly urge other physicians to take part in this type of exercise.”