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Reservist lends expertise to multi-national exercise

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer Gerhardt
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
For one 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Reservist, training with people from 15 other countries to build a higher level of continuity and camaraderie during medical exercises is a once in a lifetime opportunity.   

Master Sgt. Michelle Anderson was the only person from McChord, actually the entire West Coast, to attend the Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe May 2 to 14. 

The exercise focused on mass casualty training scenarios and humanitarian aid in response to crisis situations. MEDCEUR is a Joint Chiefs of Staff regional/multilateral exercise sponsored by U.S. European Command. Croatia hosted the exercise this year, which drew about 400 multi-nationals in support of the Partnership for Peace Initiative. Serbia is slated to host the exercise in 2009. 

Initially, Sergeant Anderson wasn't on the list to attend. 

"During the Pacific Lifeline exercise (in February), I worked with two key members of MEDCEUR 08's exercise planning committee," said Sergeant Anderson. "One received orders to Afghanistan for a year, and because of my performance at Pacific Lifeline, I was invited to take his place in the exercise. I was definitely at the right place at the right time!" 

Sergeant Anderson's skills were used significantly the first week of the exercise. She created a Master Sequence of Events Listing which consisted of creating patient injuries, along with the time line used during the exercise. The first day of the exercise had 50 patients, the second day had 100 patients, and the third day exercise players dealt with 150 patients. During the exercise, she was an observer and controller.
As an observer, Sergeant Anderson was able to see the differences in medical standards among countries. 

"Basic skills such as patient comfort and proper and safe litter lifting are not taught (in other countries), or if they are, it isn't a priority," Sergeant Anderson said.  "The good news is the other countries were very receptive to our feedback. By the third day of the exercise, there was a significant improvement with safety and patient flow." 

Overall, Sergeant Anderson was excited she was able to participate in the exercise. 

"I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this and consider it a once in a lifetime opportunity."