By Capt. Jerome Ferrin, 30th Medical BrigadeOctober 28, 2016
KOBLENZ, Germany -- Medics and nurses from the 30th Medical Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, and Regional Health Command-Europe participated in the inaugural Medical Assistant Personnel Training Conference with German military medics and nurses from the Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service Oct. 18 to 20.
Lieutenant Col. Till Perrey, head of the International Cooperation section, German Medical Service Headquarters, welcomed participants to the conference at Falckenstein Kaserne with the theme, "Know each other, before you need each other".
During the conference Soldiers trained on pre-hospital care in tactical and clinical settings, lessons learned, and built relationships to enhance interoperability. As a part of the training, the Soldiers were treated to a "behind the scenes" tour of the Central Military Hospital in Koblenz.
The tour provided insight into the facilities, equipment and different approaches to staffing used by Joint Medical Service. Participants said a noticeable difference between the two nations could be seen in medical staffing.
For example, Army Medicine relies on a myriad of officer positions while German medical service opens many ancillary medical specialties to enlisted personnel.
While touring the emergency department, German Army Master Sgt. Alexandra Pohlmann, an anesthesia nurse, Joint Medical Service, talked about her experiences and the obstacles her military medical team faced while transporting Ebola patients across Africa.
Pohlmann was part of the German relief response to the Ebola crisis in western Africa. She shared lessons learned and displayed equipment utilized to protect medical personnel while transporting patients with highly contagious diseases.
After touring the hospital, the group parked German and U.S. field ambulances side-by-side for a hands-on demonstration. Sergeant Andrew J. Esplana and Spc. Bernard K. Ngeno, medics, 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 30th Medical Bde., demonstrated the capabilities of their field ambulance and explained how they provide mobile care and transportation for casualties on the battlefield.
Participants from both countries were able to share their experiences and contrast their different approaches to emergency medicine during numerous informal training sessions.
"It was a mutual learning experience; learning from each other's strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day we came together to provide better care for our patients," said Sgt. Cedrick D. Warren, medic, 212th Combat Support Hospital, 30th Medical Bde.
Leaders said they hope to repeat this conference in the future, making it an annual event to help build interoperability with other NATO forces and contribute to a "Strong Europe."
Note: Capt. David M. Rodriguez of Regional Health Command Europe contributed to this article.