JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASHINGTON -- Six Soldiers from the 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, deployed to Hanoi, Vietnam, from June 18 to July 2. The Soldiers represented the Army at the Subject Matter Expert Exchange table top exercise and field training exercise.
The 47th CSH Soldiers worked with elements from the militaries of the United Kingdom and Australia, the Vietnamese Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Vietnam People's Army Military Hospital 103 in order to prepare VPA MH 103 for an upcoming United Nations peacekeeping mission.
"The CSH has an enduring relationship with Vietnam level II hospitals," said Maj. Michael Baddley, 47th CSH executive officer. "Previous successful partnerships in 2016 and 2017 set the stage for this exchange."
During this tabletop and field training exercise, MH 103 members were trained and evaluated by members of the Vietnamese Department of Peacekeeping Operations, with the subject matter experts from the U.S., U.K. and Australia acting as observer/coaches. The CSH representatives were present to advise MH 103 on mission command, operations, logistics, supply and clinical medicine.
The exercise enriched not only MH 103, but also the 47th CSH. The mission "allowed for 47th CSH elements to both share knowledge and learn new processes from international partners," said Capt. Brianna Burnstad, 47th CSH health services administration officer.
The 47th CSH observer/coaches started the mission by advising the Vietnamese Department of Peacekeeping Operations as they refined the patient scenarios and evaluation criteria that would later be used during the upcoming exchange.
The eight hospital departments of MH 103 conducted a tabletop exercise over two days where they practiced communication and patient flow throughout the level II hospital. The observer/coaches assisted the departments that corresponded with their areas of expertise by reviewing their standard operating procedures and facilitating communication between different hospital departments.
Staff Sergeant Quenten Griffith, 47th CSH supply specialist noncommissioned officer, used his expertise in logistics to advise MH 103 on property movement, equipment accountability, and building supply networks. Working with MH 103 provided him with valuable insight about the importance of medical logistics.
"I learned more about the hospital and how the medical side of logistics work," said Griffith. "Being a regular logistics guy, I really do not get see that side of logistics, and it gave me more tools to add to my bag."
The tabletop exercise was followed by an eight-day field training exercise. The first five days were focused on training, including patient scenarios including dog bites, respiratory illnesses, appendicitis, trauma and other clinical issues.
Also included were nonclinical scenarios such as hospital fire procedures, power outages and protocol actions for dignitary visits. The FTX culminated in a three-day evaluation conducted by the Vietnamese Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
The peacekeeping mission that MH 103 will assume this October is the second year of a five-year commitment by Vietnam to set up, operate and sustain a level II hospital in South Sudan. The hospital will provide healthcare for U.N. forces stationed there.
"The 47th CSH representatives built relationships with foreign military medical professionals not only from Vietnam, but also from the United Kingdom and Australia," said Baddley. "Sharing best practices from each service allowed 47th CSH subject matter experts to refine their own practices and return that knowledge to the 47th CSH."