By 2nd Lt. Gabriel GonzagaFebruary 14, 2019
FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force's 72nd Tank Regiment partnered with medics from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team in an effort to share their expertise and knowledge of equipment on Fort Irwin, Jan. 27.
The medics from both countries exhibited their field ambulances and introduced unique equipment and techniques they each employ during medical emergencies. It was the first meeting for the two groups, as most of the JGSDF soldiers arrived the day prior.
"We know that when we get to the force-on-force fight and begin to engage the exercise's enemy, there will be casualties that are going to need help," said Maj. Robert Hales, the Stryker Brigade surgeon. "We are not going to be concerned whether it is a Japanese or American that is injured, if it's one of our team that's hurt, the closest available medics will respond, and knowing the capabilities and procedures of each country is imperative to our success," Hales said.
Soldiers from both sides toured the evacuation vehicles and discussed best practices from their experiences. Noting that their nine-line MEDEVAC procedures were not the same, the two worked to sync their processes. Each side appreciated gaining a shared understanding of what needs to be relayed during emergencies to ensure that help can come to the right location with the proper equipment.
"Working together to deconflict our nine-line procedures helps us increase our interoperability and essentially our combat power for our upcoming rotation together," said Spc. Hudson Newell, a medic who briefed the Japanese soldiers throughout the meeting.
The exchange also helped build a relationship between the two units as they prepare for the National Training Center's rotational exercise #19-04, which officially starts Feb. 4. The 72nd Tank Regiment will be the largest group of JGSDF personnel to go through a deployment at the training center, with 500 soldiers and their equipment. The NTC will analyze the brigade's ability to destroy the enemy and improve it to make it more lethal. Conducting this rotation ensures the unit has lethal battalions that can shoot, move and communicate on the modern battlefield and will be highly trained and ready when the nation calls.
"It is remarkable that they use Strykers in a field ambulance role for direct care of casualties," said Sgt. Annbo Masayuki, one of the JGSDF soldiers attending the exchange. "Even hiding the Red Cross message with a folding panel is amazing."