Force health protection measures ensures Soldier success during HG20
Spc. Tristan Elderkin, a preventive medicine specialist assigned to the 255th Preventive Medicine Detachment, tests the water quality of a handwashing station outside a dining facility during the Hanuman Guardian Exercise on Feb. 26, 2020, at Camp Friendship, Korat, Thailand. Our relationship with the Kingdom of Thailand remains one of our most important in Southeast Asia. The bilateral training of HG20 demonstrates the commitment of the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. to our long-standing alliance. (Photo Credit: Spc. Ezra Camarena) VIEW ORIGINAL

KORAT, Thailand - Soldiers participating in Hanuman Guardian 20 in Korat, Thailand, had an additional step to go through before they were allowed into the chow hall to eat breakfast. All of them received a forehead temperature scan for preventive medicine measures.

"Scanning Soldier's foreheads and checking their temperatures prior to entering the dining facility is one of many force health protection measures we are using during this exercise to ensure the health of both the U.S. and partner nations during the training," said Maj. Matthew Holuta, commander of the 255th Preventive Medicine Detachment.

The 255th's mission during HG20 is to maintain the health of every Soldier participating in the exercise. They will be here for the full three months from February to May, ensuring the Soldier's health.

"These force health protection measures affect all U.S. forces that are here," said Holuta. "They are critical to maintaining the health of every soldier participating in these exercises."

Holuta listed other preventive measures that will be taken to include activities such as hand washing, proper disposal of waste, and eating from approved food sources.

"These measures are important because it will help ensure the health of Task Force Soldiers that are participating in this training, and any partner or ally forces they are training with," said Holuta.

Additionally, force health protection professionals conduct assessments at various locations where Soldiers are training to document conditions and ensure there are no unhealthy conditions.

"Whether it's COVID-19 (coronavirus), the flu, or the cold, force health protection measures like these are always a part of military planning, and they are used to ensure the success of military operations by keeping the maximum number of Soldiers in the fight or ready for training," said Holuta.

Lt. Col. Philip Mundweil, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment and Task Force Cacti reiterated the importance of force health protection for the exercise.

"Despite the recent regional concerns of a global health emergency, Task Force Cacti remains ready to complete our mission with the help of army preventive medicine measures that are watching our back while we continue to build readiness, increase lethality and expand partnership during exercise Hanuman Guardian 20," said Mundweil.

Hanuman Guardian is an annual exercise, now in its tenth iteration, that is designed to enhance U.S. Army and Royal Thai Army capabilities, build strong relationships between both armies and increase mission readiness, enabling regional security and stability. HG20 upholds U.S. commitments with its allies and key regional partners to provide trained, ready, and interoperable Army forces for a full spectrum of operations.