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NEWS | June 20, 2024

U.S. Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage

By Maj. Edward McBride U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

On June 19, while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena, two U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion June 18.

Lt. Charles Crocco, an emergency care nurse (66T), assigned to the 947th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment (FRSD), but training in Chad with the 402nd FRSD, and Spc. Malik Simpson, a practical nursing specialist (68C), assigned to the 402nd FRSD, treated three patients impacted by shrapnel and falling objects during the explosion, including a female patient with burns and bruises and two male patients with lacerations and one with an open leg wound.

The Soldiers were able to triage the patients using supplies brought for the MEDREX, while working with their Chadian medical partners, who managed their prescriptions for aftercare.

Late Tuesday night, blasts rang out across Chad’s capital city, N’Djamena, after a military ammunition depot exploded. The cause of the explosion has yet to be identified, but multiple deaths and injuries have been reported as a result.

Capt. Gary Senecal, the commander of the 402nd FRSD stated, “We were fully prepared to do the work we’ve been trained to do. We spend all our time preparing for events like this. The only thing I regret is that we weren’t called in earlier. Most patients came in overnight.”

At least 11 patients were treated at Garnison Military Hospital, while other patients were treated at local civilian hospitals in the area.

Spc. Simpson, a civilian registered nurse, said, “Honestly, I am happy that I was here and able to use the medical and critical thinking skills provided by the Army to assist the Chadian military medical team and Chadian citizens.”

Capt. Senecal’s team of surgeons, nurses, operating room specialists, emergency physician, anesthetists, combat medics and a pharmacist will remain in Chad for another week participating in the exercise.

For more information, please contact the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) public affairs office at

MEDREX is a partner lead, U.S. enabled program, planned and executed by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), that allows military health professionals from the U.S. and African partners to exchange medical practices, procedures and techniques that build and strengthen treatment capabilities, resulting in lasting relationships between the partners.

SETAF-AF provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis-response options in Africa and Europe.