Sailors, Marines depart for Cambodia MEDEX 13-1
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and sailors with 3rd Medical Battalion departed Okinawa for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 17 to conduct Cambodia Medical Exercise 13-1.
The service members will work alongside Royal Cambodian Armed Forces medical personnel at the Phnom Penh Preah Ket Meleah Hospital during subject-matter expert exchanges to increase Cambodian and U.S. medical capability, capacity and interoperability.
The U.S. and Cambodian armed forces have conducted medical exercises together since 2007, and the purpose of this year’s exercise is to exchange expertise and ideas to further develop both militaries’ medical capabilities.
“We will observe our medical counterparts, so we can understand how they utilize equipment and handle the daily challenges they face,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lawrence Decker, the officer in charge of the exercise and the subject-matter expert in emergency medicine with the battalion, part of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Surgeon, nurse and emergency room doctor subject-matter expert exchanges will take place during the exercise. Both the RCAF and U.S. military medical personnel will develop a relevant presentation to share with each other. The U.S. service members will also share their medical experiences and medical record-keeping skills.
Exercises, training and exchanges like Cambodia MEDEX 13-1 are valuable opportunities for all involved, according to Chief Petty Officer Chris Guckeyson, the operations officer with the battalion.
“A benefit of this is not only increased interoperability between the two nations, but increased medical capability, which fosters greater stability in the region,” said Guckeyson. “It also helps the subject-matter experts because the cultural differences provide an opportunity to see their medical priorities as opposed to ours.”
During last year’s Cambodia MEDEX, both Cambodian and U.S. military medical personnel benefitted from working together and gaining knowledge.
“(The most important thing I saw was) the desire the Cambodian physicians showed to improve their medical care – it was extremely heartening to see that,” said Decker. “This year, we will continue developing those personal relations so in the future, we are able to coordinate better and improve our (interoperability).
“My overall goal is that our 14-day (exercise) provides a lasting effect.”