British and US airborne medics are working together as two wards of the same hospital during joint training in southern Germany.
According to the British Army, Colchester-based 19 Medical Squadron, 16 Medical Regiment and their US Army counterparts in Charlie Company, 173rd Brigade Support Battalion are on Exercise Saber Junction.
It is understood that some 5,500 soldiers from 20 NATO allies and partner countries are training together to improve their ability to respond together to international crises.
Across the month-long exercise, the medics are working as a joint field hospital, with the clinical capabilities of a British field surgical team complementing the larger volume of casualties the US unit is able to care for.
A period of familiarisation training has seen 19 Med Sqn and Charlie Company learn about each other’s equipment and practices. A steady stream of casualties with simulated combat injuries, ranging from ruptured internal organs to broken bones, tested the medics’ skills and ability to work together.
Major James Preshaw, Officer Commanding 19 Med Sqn, said:
“Saber Junction is a unique opportunity to train as an independent medical squadron alongside our US counterparts, which is a new challenge for our soldiers in a different environment. Working together as one increases the medical capabilities and capacity over what our units could do individually. Our strength is that we have a surgical team and clinical care for more acute patients; 173 BSB has a larger inpatient capacity and specialist primary healthcare functions, such as behavioural health.”
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Baker, commanding officer of 173 BSB, said:
“We’ve trained together before, but we operated side-by-side then and we’re now working as a joint venture. You see the different uniforms in each of our facilities, worn by patients or medics, depending on where they’re best treated or working. Both units’ personnel share a passion for giving the best care to patients, and the more we train together the better prepared we will be if we go into conflict together.”