By Ms. Ashley Patoka (Regional Health Command Europe)December 8, 2017
U.S. Army Europe presented 40 military ambulances to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense during a Ukrainian Armed Forces Day Ceremony at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Ukraine, on Dec. 6.
The ambulances, which are part of the train-and-equip program with the Ukraine, are the second delivery of their kind and represent $11 million in high-impact assistance from the United States. The USAREUR Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, delivered five additional ambulances in August, 2016.
According to Ukraine officials, the Ukraine Army is in need of modern, armored vehicles that can be used to evacuate injured soldiers to medical treatment facilities. The ambulances are intended to enhance the evacuation capability and capacity of casualties.
During the ceremony, Madam Marie L. Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, addressed the troops where she praised the bravery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and partnership of the U.S. and Ukraine.
"Since Ukraine first declared independence, and throughout the more recent challenges caused by Russian aggression, the United States has stood by Ukraine in the defense of its sovereignty," she said.
"Because these ambulances are a symbol of our continued commitment to helping to improve Ukraine's ability to care for your most valuable resource -- the courageous and dedicated men and women defending your very freedom."
Regional Health Command Europe Commanding General and USAREUR Command Surgeon, Brig. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, represented USAREUR at the ceremony. He said that these ambulances represent the Ukrainian Armed Forces Military Medical Department's commitment to modernize their medical force and medical structure.
"The Ukrainian Armed Forces developed an evacuation system and we have helped them resource it with the delivery of these ambulances," LeMaster said.
The ambulances are constructed from a rigid reinforcing frame covered and connected to an aluminum outer skin. They have the capacity to hold four litters and six ambulatory patients in an insulated compartment with a heating and air conditioning system. This compartment also holds a hospital-grade oxygen system and suction ports for up to six patients.
LeMaster said prior to the ambulances and the development of an evacuation system, evacuation of Ukrainian Soldiers off the battlefield happened through whatever resources were available.
Support to Ukraine goes beyond the delivery of the 45 ambulances. Regional Health Command Europe, in conjunction with the USAREUR Office of the Command Surgeon, currently have16 medical programs they are working on with Ukraine.
According to LeMaster, these programs range from advising the military as they work to develop a unified medical command; developing behavioral health programs and rehabilitative services; officer leadership courses, medical planners courses, combat lifesaver and combat medic courses and enlisted specialty care training;
"With all of these programs, our end goal is to get to the point where it's train the trainer and these programs become their own," LeMaster said.
In the U.S. Army, Soldiers know there is a complete medical system behind the combat forces and Soldiers fight harder knowing they're supported by a medical system. LeMaster said he felt the delivery of the ambulances was a morale booster for the Ukrainian Soldiers.
"There was a huge field, with a formation of Soldiers -- 80 percent of them Ukrainian -- and then the 40 ambulances behind them," LeMaster said. "These Soldiers, who are mostly combat veterans, now know there is a dedicated patient evacuation system behind them that will take care of them -- it's a morale boost. It was so important that the President of Ukraine and the US Ambassador came to participate.
"To see that level of progress in Ukrainian medical capability and capacity is reassuring to their Soldiers and shows the effectiveness of non-lethal aide as a combat multiplier," LeMaster continued.
To learn more about RHCE, visit https://rhce.amedd.army.mil/.