By Maj. Holli Nelson, West Virginia National GuardSeptember 13, 2019
DOHA, Qatar - Medical experts from the West Virginia and New Jersey National Guards trained Qatari soldiers how to care for the wounded Sept. 8-12.
Guard members from the two states spent a week at the Qatar Emiri Land Force Artillery School in Al Rayyan Municipality sharing best lifesaving practices on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) with 11 members of the Qatari Emiri Land Forces (QELF), Qatar's largest branch of the military.
Many of the Qatari soldiers had no training in basic first aid or combat medicine.
They learned techniques from Lt. Col. John Snedegar, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Hill and Staff Sgt. Christal Miller of the West Virginia Army National Guard, and five medics from the 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry, New Jersey Army National Guard.
"It was very rewarding to work with our Qatari partners," said Snedegar. "While we are different in many ways when it comes to our culture and language, as soldiers, we have a kindred spirit when caring for the wounded. This opportunity to share best practices between us allowed everyone involved to be prepared to participate in coalition operations."
The course included hands-on instruction and practical application exercises to build confidence for the course participants.
"Working with the Qataris and our West Virginia counterparts has been a great experience," said Sgt. Joseph Fiore of the 114th Infantry, New Jersey Air National Guard. "Being able to come together shortly after meeting and being able to work together to train our host nation is a true testament to the training and professionalism shown by both states."
Capt. Allen Jordan of the West Virginia Air National Guard, and State Partnership Program coordinator -- Qatar, said many of the QELF soldiers were very inquisitive and appreciative of the combined efforts of West Virginia and New Jersey.
Jordan said the subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) team highlighted medical procedures like a needle decompression and a tension pneumothorax, which the Qataris had never heard of.
"It's been a wonderful experience getting to share knowledge and skills with the Qatari soldiers," said Miller of the West Virginia National Guard's medical detachment. "I was not sure what to expect being a female, but found our Qatari partners to be open and welcoming."
This SMEE is one of many recent West Virginia-Qatar State Partnership Program meetings since the announcement of the partnership in May 2018. It is the West Virginia National Guard's second partner nation and the sixth SPP country in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for the National Guard.
The goal of the partnership with Qatar is to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training interactions. The two entities work closely together to increase the interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.