HOHENFELS, Germany – The “Cobra Kais” from the 566th Medical Company Area Support (MCAS), 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion (MMB), 1st Medical Brigade, began deployment operations in support of Operation Joint Guardian in Europe Sept. 15.
Operation Joint Guardian is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. The 566th MCAS’s mission in Germany is to run the aid station for the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC).
Due to COVID-19, five Soldiers departed over a month ahead of the main body in order to quarantine and provide COVID testing support as well. On Sept. 30, the 566th took over operations of the aid station and began conducting sick call and emergency treatment as necessary.
It wasn’t long before they received a Soldier, from 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who cut his hand open badly and required stitches.
Capt. Cameron Castle, the 566th MCAS physician assistant, used this opportunity to show the combat medic specialists how to properly stitch a wound.
“It’s great working with medics who are eager to learn and who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty,” Castle said. “All medics who participated did outstanding for their first time working with live tissue.”
For two of the three combat medics, Spc. Garrett Moats and Pfc. Jacob Crowson, it was their first time working on an injured appendage, and both were eager to learn how to stitch an actual wound.
“That was my first time suturing live tissue before, so it was a great experience,” Crowson said. “Capt. Castle is extremely patient and knowledgeable, so I learned a lot. I’m just happy to be doing my job.”
The Brave Mercy Medics were also being assisted by two Italian nurses from the 1st Alpini Regiment stationed in Naples, Italy.
“Working with the Italians has been a unique experience,” said Moats. “They don’t speak any English, so we use Google Translate, but they were very eager to help us. They do things differently so it’s really interesting to see their process.”
The five-person advanced operational node team also tested over 400 NATO Soldiers from Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Armenia and Italy on Oct. 1. There are many more NATO Soldiers scheduled to arrive as rotations to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center continue, while keeping COVID-19 prevention precautions in place to protect the health of the force.
Capt. Madison Hernandez, the 566th Medical company commander, was motivated by what he saw from the medics there so far.
“The 566th Cobra Kai is extremely proud of the work our ADVON is doing with our partner nations at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center,” Hernandez said. “We look forward to joining them and helping with the mission in the coming weeks.”
The 61st MMB and the 566th MCAS are dedicated to any assigned mission and look forward to any future help they can provide at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center during Operation Joint Guardian.