Air Force, Army medics train together for MEDEX 16
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 60 U.S. Army Soldiers from the 228th Combat Support Hospital, U.S. Army Reserve unit arrived at Misawa AB Aug. 16, to participate with Airmen from the 35th Medical Group in the joint exercise MEDEX 16.
MEDEX 16 will afford Army and Air Force medics the opportunity to integrate and train with one another, while improving upon the mission set of aeromedical evacuation.
"We want to know how the Air Force does it," said Army Col. Elizabeth Anderson, MEDEX 16 mission commander. "We are used to doing things a different way; is there a middle ground or do we stick with the one road that works best? This is a testing bed for that question, and we are excited to figure it out."
Given Misawa's strategic location in northern Japan, the base serves as a potential hub for contingency operations and the evacuation of patients from areas in the Pacific forward to the states. MEDEX 16 will build upon this concept by integrating Air Force and Army capabilities, expanding the ability of Misawa's medical treatment facility to care for patients relocated from different areas.
“This exercise gives us an opportunity to work with the Air Force in a different way," said Anderson. "We have familiarity working with them in an evacuation perspective on the backside of the hospital once we have done all the patient care, but we have not integrated with the clinic before.”
From Aug. 22 to 24, participants from the two units will cross train on Air Force and Army medical practices, as well as integrate with different units and sections of the hospital including the intensive care unit, operating room and surgical unit. The actual exercise will be conducted during the latter part of the week, Aug. 25 and 26, and is unique in that it will involve real patients.
“We are shadowing, so we are going to be there working alongside [the Air Force] and our providers will take care of real cases during the day," added Anderson. "This is a two-day exercise and our staff will see how the number of patients facilitated in the exercise worked, as well as observe any challenges in the logistical resources and clinical resources of the facility.”
This is the first iteration of the medical exercise and the 228th CSH from San Antonio, Texas, are excited to support.
“This is a first for us," said Anderson. "It’s a chance to learn how the Air Force medical model and clinical model works and we are very excited from an Army perspective."