Docs and corpsmen keep Marines and multi-national forces fit for duty
Sgt. Tatum Vayavananda
In a field dental suite, Navy Capt. Paul Bowersox, a dentist, and HM3 Andrine Randle, a dental technician, from 4th Dental Battalion, treat a U.S. Marine patient during Exercise Western Accord 2012. Exercise Western Accord 2012 is a multi-lateral training exercise with West African nations to increase understanding and interoperability, prevent conflict by enabling Africans to provide for their security and stability, strengthen relationships with partner nations, and promote and support U.S. national security priorities. Participating African nations include Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Gambia, who will be working with U.S. troops in Senegalese training sites until July 24.
THIÉS, Senegal – When over 1,200 U.S. and West African service members train, eat, sleep and live together in an austere environment, there is the risk of injuries, illnesses and medical emergencies. In order to keep the force fit for duty during Exercise Western Accord 2012, a team of Navy medical personnel deployed medical assets directly to the onsite location for the multi-week, multi-national field training event.
Navy personnel from 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Dental Battalion and 3rd Battalion 25th Marine Regiment, set up a Battalion Aid Station, a Forward Recussivtative Surgery Suite, and a dental site to help reduce illness, stabilize serious injuries, perform dental procedures, cure digestion problems and everything in-between.
“We provide medical support for Marines wherever they are training,”said Chief Petty Officer Tremaine L. Luster, hospital corpsman from 3rd Battalion 25th Marines.
“We are here to get Marines patched up and back on the field.”
Having the ability to deploy medical teams and equipment to the actual training area is essential for mission accomplishment.
“Marines will do anything as long as they know they have medical backup capabilities within close range,” said Navy Capt. Joseph P. Constabile, the officer-in-charge for the FRSS.
The FRSS is a complete surgical suite that provides capabilities to stabilize a patient before moving them to a higher echelon of care. The FRSS tent features: a temperature-controlled surgery room, capabilities to control bleeding and contamination, operating tables and an ultra-sound machine, among the other capabilities to treat Marines in the field.
“Where the Marines go, the FRSS goes,” added the Marlton, New Jersey, native.
The medical facilities are especially important for training during Western Accord 2012 in Thiés, Senegal. The BAS serves as the basic “sick call” for Marines in the field when there is no medical facility available to them.
“We’re important because out here there is no local medical support for about three hours away, so if anything happens, there would be no way to treat them,” said Luster.
“We have to know how to adapt without having everything available,” added the Dayton, Ohio, native.
The medical personnel and equipment play an important role in a successful mission to keep Marines safe and medically ready to train with the West African partners participating in the exercise.
“We are Navy corpsman, nurses and doctors that have opted to be on the ‘green side’ with Marines because we want to take care of them,” said Constabile.
Exercise Western Accord 2012 is a multi-lateral training exercise with West African nations to increase understanding and interoperability, prevent conflict by enabling Africans to provide for their security and stability, strengthen relationships with partner nations, and promote and support U.S. national security priorities. The training will conclude July 24.
Participating nations include the U.S., Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso and France. All the nations participating in WA-12 belong to the Economic Community of West African States; a united front of African nations that have banded together for common economic benefit.
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