MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
More than 60 U.S. Army Soldiers with the 228th Combat Support Hospital, U.S. Army Reserve unit arrived at Misawa Air Base, Aug. 16, to participate in the joint exercise MEDEX 16 with Airmen assigned to the 35th Medical Group.
MEDEX 16 will allow Army and Air Force medics to integrate and train with one another, while also improving upon the mission set of aeromedical evacuation.
"We want to know how the Air Force does it," said U.S. 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 to forward locations in 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 through 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."