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NEWS | May 7, 2024

Joint training exercise enhances military-civilian cooperation in emergency response during Guardian Response 2024

By Capt. Jonathan Ferrer 78th Training Division

On March 2, 2024, U.S. Army Soldiers from the 690th Medical Company Ground Ambulance based out of Fort Liberty, North Carolina, and 343rd Medical Company Ground Ambulance from Richmond, Virginia, alongside the 2-501 General Support Aviation Battalion from El Paso, Texas, recently conducted realistic mass-casualty training at Columbus Regional Health in Columbus, Indiana. This joint training exercise was part of Guardian Response 2024, training active, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers to respond to large-scale emergency disaster scenarios.

The exercise at Columbus Regional Health simulated a mass-casualty event, requiring a coordinated response from both military and civilian medical personnel. Soldiers from the 690th and 343rd MEDCO Ground Ambulance practiced casualty triage and transport procedures, while crews from the 2-501st General Support Aviation Battalion honed their skills in medical evacuation via helicopter.

Columbus Regional Health staff played a vital role in the training, providing a realistic hospital setting for casualty reception, triage, and treatment. This joint exercise provided a valuable opportunity for Soldiers to collaborate with civilian medical professionals and refine their interoperability in a simulated large-scale disaster scenario.

Following the exercise, Brig. Gen. Christopher W. Cook, commanding general of the 78th Training Division and Exercise Director of GR24, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jodi Renner expressed their gratitude by presenting a certificate of appreciation to the Columbus Regional Health staff.

"Collaborative exercises like this are vital for ensuring seamless cooperation between military and civilian medical teams during emergency situations," said Brig. Gen. Cook. "The experience gained through joint training exercises is invaluable and enhances our collective ability to respond effectively to mass casualty events."

The training simulated various emergency scenarios, allowing both military and civilian medical personnel to practice their response procedures in a controlled environment. The focus was on improving communication, coordination, and the overall efficiency of medical care during mass casualty incidents.

"These exercises provide invaluable opportunities for our Soldiers to collaborate with civilian counterparts in preparing to respond to natural disasters, where both military and civilian resources are required to effectively mitigate crises and provide crucial support and services to the public," added Command Sgt. Maj. Renner. "The partnership between the U.S. Army and Columbus Regional Health is instrumental in ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities."

At the conclusion of the training, participants conducted after-action briefs to review their performance and identify opportunities for further enhancement.

"We are committed to continuous improvement and collaboration with our Military counterparts," said Steve Baker, Executive VP, Chief Operating Officer of Columbus Regional Health. "Exercises like this help us refine our skills and better prepare for any emergency situation we may face together."

The successful completion of this joint training exercise underscores the importance of ongoing cooperation between military and civilian medical professionals in safeguarding public health and safety.