BAN DAN LAN HOI, Kingdom of Thailand --
Bolstering interoperability among allied militaries can mean much more than the ability to fight side-by-side. Sharing techniques in training today can save lives tomorrow.
Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 3rd Medical Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, worked with their Royal Thai Army counterparts to coordinate bilateral base aid stations and a forward resuscitative surgical suite here during exercise Cobra Gold 2013, Feb. 16.
Learning how to work together in the treatment of a serious Thai military injury, representatives from nearby RTA hospitals met with U.S. Navy doctors and corpsmen in expeditionary medical tents on the Marine camp in BDLH.
"In the event any Thai military national was injured during a training scenario, our BAS or FRSS, depending on the injury, would be the aid location they would be (evacuated) to," said Lt. Cmdr. Angela Dougherty, critical care clinical nurse specialist with 3rd Medical Bn, III MEF attached to Combat Logistics Regiment 3 for CG13. "But being that we would be taking in a member of foreign forces, there are some additional procedures we must take."
Taking into consideration the language barrier and the selection of locations for follow-on treatment, the two forces create protocols for taking in Thai patients. Ideally, an interpreter would be present during treatment, and to assist in coordinating transportation for the patient to an RTA hospital. The U.S. medical teams will serve as an initial response, stabilizing the patient for follow-on care at the Thai facility.
"In the end, a Thai soldier will be treated at a Thai hospital, but the treatment that must happen between the two points might be done by the U.S. doctors," said Royal Thai Army Col. Samai Khampan, director of the RTA Fort Phichaidaphak Hospital in Uttaradit. "It is essential we both understand each other, and the care is provided safely and smoothly in treating that Thai soldier."
Examples of integration between the medical forces included a tour of the field medical facilities, a display of medical equipment on hand, and a discussion on medical capabilities available in the field. The goal of the training is to create a seamless medical team of Thai and U.S. personnel able to render the best medical aid possible.
"On-site medical care is astronomically essential to any training exercise," said Dougherty, a native of Arvada, Colo. "We're able to treat any incoming Thai soldier just as competently as a U.S. Marine or Sailor, and that ensures total bilateral safety."
CG13, now in its 32nd iteration, is an annual multilateral exercise aimed at strengthening military interoperability and foreign relationships while maintaining theatre security throughout the Asia-Pacific region.