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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2019

329th Ground Ambulance Tests Medical Tactical Skills with Canadian Forces

By Courtesy 329th Ground Ambulance

There rarely is a typical ‘Army Day’, but training involving international partners, virtual reality simulators, burning aircraft, tactical room clearing and a formal dining in is truly an exception to the typical.

The 329th Medical Company (Ground Ambulance), from Fairview, Pa., competed in the St Luke’s Field Ambulance Validation Event, hosted by the Canadian Armed Forces, 25 Field Ambulance, in Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 26th.

The event consisted of nine scenarios encompassing a wide range of medical and tactical skills. Scenarios include confined space building operations, rescue tower, aircraft mock-up operations and auto extrication. These events allowed the 329th Medics the opportunity to practice providing care under pressure and tactical conditions in a competitive learning environment.

“This competition allows us to utilize a world class training facility, the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute, offers many training tools that we don’t typically have access to such as a confined space building, a rescue tower, aircraft mock-ups and auto extrication to include a bus,” said 1st Lt. Hannah M. Rush, Commander, 329th MC (GA).

The 329th MC (GA) first attended this event four years ago, sending one team of five. Now, four years later, it is a much larger event with nine Canadian and American military teams competing. This year the unit sent 20 personnel in teams of one officer, one NCO, and three junior Soldiers.

“This event gives our medics a chance to practice scenarios that they have no advance knowledge of, which enables us to get a true feel of their strengths and weaknesses. They also get exposure to how the Canadian Forces operate when it comes to medical treatment and tactics, which allows them to broaden their scope of knowledge and see things from a different perspective,” said Rush.

“I truly enjoy this event because it is a good test of our medical knowledge and skill, our ability to work as a team, and with all friendly competitions it is good for the esprit de corps of our unit. This year the competition gave us more events involving trauma as well as several where our basic warrior tasks and drills were tested. Fortunately, our normal training prepared us for St. Luke’s,” said Sgt. Ian Brown, 68W competitor with the 329th MC (GA).

Even though most of the hands on fun was had by the enlisted Soldiers, many officers participating got valuable planning experience by performing mission analysis with Canadian Officers and conducting a decision brief to 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support), Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Nelson Rosen.

“This was great training by pulling the 329th lieutenant’s out of their comfort zones as the Canadian Forces task organization and assets differ from ours,” said Rush.

“This mission expands our interoperability with other forces and allows us to build camaraderie by assisting with planning and participating. Every year, we have Soldiers who consistently volunteer to attend this event. They appreciate the relationships we have been able to build over the past four years,” said Rush.

Capping off the event was The Feast of St. Luke's dining in. “This event gave us the opportunity to experience Canadian customs; allowing our Soldiers to meet and interact with the Canadian Forces building camaraderie outside of training,” said Rush.        

“The dining in after the competition is one of my favorite parts of the trip. As an Army Reservist I haven’t had the opportunity to go to many, this allows me to speak with other competitors and learn about their training,” said Brown. Adding, “I look forward to coming back next year and competing again.”