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NEWS | July 2, 2024

Multinational medical exercises bring partners together for first of its kind training

By Airman 1st Class Eliana Raspet 140th Wing

BALATONFÜRED, Hungary – The NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, in collaboration with the host nation of Hungary, held the Vigorous Warrior and Clean Care medical exercises at the Bakonykút training area in Hungary May 4-8, 2024.

This is the first time that these two exercises occurred simultaneously in response to increased real-world chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

Vigorous Warrior, led by Hungarian Col. Laszlo Fazekas, director, NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, is regarded as the largest multinational medical exercise in NATO history with 38 nations and partners confirming participation.

“It is incredibly impressive to see all these NATO and partner nations in the medical field come together to solve problems, take care of patients, and save as many lives as possible,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Ochsner, 140th Medical Group detachment 1 commander, CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package.

Clean Care 2024, led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark T. Williams, Clean Care exercise director, U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, tested NATO interoperability with CBRN defense and medical aid in a CBRN-scenario environment.

“It was felt that in the modern battlefield, trauma is not the only danger, and CBRN components must be added to the battlefield scenario,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Patten, CERFP flight surgeon, 140th MDG, said.

Patten said that this year's scenario, adapted by NATO MILMED COE, featured a fictitious peer-level opponent that challenged NATO troops by causing various health risks, including vector-borne diseases, food and water-borne diseases, respiratory diseases, and industrial and environmental hazards, as well as CBRN threats. Patients underwent a continuum of care, starting with hot zone triage and decontamination, where emergent treatment of CBRN exposure and trauma took place.

The patients then proceed to Role 1,damage control resuscitation, Role 2, damage control surgery, and then Role 3, within the theater or Role 4, outside the theater, definitive and specialty care.

“We practice NATO interoperability between CBRN defense and medical capabilities in a tactical environment from the point of injury through to a Role 2 medical treatment facility,” Williams said. “We are making sure that at a time of crisis, we have already created the standardization and interoperability requirements to provide a smoother process in terrible environments.”

Members of the Colorado National Guard CBRN enhanced response force package, with support and vision from the United States European Command, was on the ground at the training center showcasing medical readiness and excellence through the CERFP, a domestic mission unique in that it combines the efforts of CBRN and DECON with the medical elements designated as Role 1 by NATO.

“This is where we uniquely fit in that our Role 1 is combined with DECON and trains primarily on domestic response, where we can medically treat CBRN casualties immediately before and after decontamination,” Patten said. 

The Vigorous Warrior and Clean Care 2024 exercises provided a unique opportunity to work in a multinational medical response environment and serve as a starting point to learn from each nation's experiences.

“In this exercise, we are not teaching anything to anyone,” Patten said. “We are demonstrating how we solve the problem of treating CBRN patients while going through the decontamination process within the U.S. system. We give our partners and friends an example of how we solve this problem and make our partners think about the problem and develop their strategy to mitigate what would happen in a domestic event.”

BALATONFÜRED, Hungary – The NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, in collaboration with the host nation of Hungary, held the Vigorous Warrior and Clean Care medical exercises at the Bakonykút training area in Hungary May 4-8, 2024.

This is the first time that these two exercises occurred simultaneously in response to increased real-world chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

Vigorous Warrior, led by Hungarian Col. Laszlo Fazekas, director, NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, is regarded as the largest multinational medical exercise in NATO history with 38 nations and partners confirming participation.

“It is incredibly impressive to see all these NATO and partner nations in the medical field come together to solve problems, take care of patients, and save as many lives as possible,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Ochsner, 140th Medical Group detachment 1 commander, CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package.

Clean Care 2024, led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark T. Williams, Clean Care exercise director, U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, tested NATO interoperability with CBRN defense and medical aid in a CBRN-scenario environment.

“It was felt that in the modern battlefield, trauma is not the only danger, and CBRN components must be added to the battlefield scenario,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Patten, CERFP flight surgeon, 140th MDG, said.

Patten said that this year's scenario, adapted by NATO MILMED COE, featured a fictitious peer-level opponent that challenged NATO troops by causing various health risks, including vector-borne diseases, food and water-borne diseases, respiratory diseases, and industrial and environmental hazards, as well as CBRN threats. Patients underwent a continuum of care, starting with hot zone triage and decontamination, where emergent treatment of CBRN exposure and trauma took place.

The patients then proceed to Role 1,damage control resuscitation, Role 2, damage control surgery, and then Role 3, within the theater or Role 4, outside the theater, definitive and specialty care.

“We practice NATO interoperability between CBRN defense and medical capabilities in a tactical environment from the point of injury through to a Role 2 medical treatment facility,” Williams said. “We are making sure that at a time of crisis, we have already created the standardization and interoperability requirements to provide a smoother process in terrible environments.”

Members of the Colorado National Guard CBRN enhanced response force package, with support and vision from the United States European Command, was on the ground at the training center showcasing medical readiness and excellence through the CERFP, a domestic mission unique in that it combines the efforts of CBRN and DECON with the medical elements designated as Role 1 by NATO.

“This is where we uniquely fit in that our Role 1 is combined with DECON and trains primarily on domestic response, where we can medically treat CBRN casualties immediately before and after decontamination,” Patten said. 

The Vigorous Warrior and Clean Care 2024 exercises provided a unique opportunity to work in a multinational medical response environment and serve as a starting point to learn from each nation's experiences.

“In this exercise, we are not teaching anything to anyone,” Patten said. “We are demonstrating how we solve the problem of treating CBRN patients while going through the decontamination process within the U.S. system. We give our partners and friends an example of how we solve this problem and make our partners think about the problem and develop their strategy to mitigate what would happen in a domestic event.”

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