BARDUFOSS, Norway — Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1-214th General Support Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, will provide MedEvac support to Joint Forcible Entry Norway, during Swift Response 2022, taking place in Norway from from April 29 - May 18.
Joint Forcible Entry Norway is one of the airborne operations being executed during Swift Response 2022. Swift Response demonstrates the strategic employment of the Global Response Force and validates the U.S. European Command’s ability to send high readiness forces into a designated area while advancing airborne interoperability among NATO allies.
About 426 paratroopers from Alaska, a dozen Hungarian special forces, and roughly another dozen from Spain, were scheduled to jump during Joint Forcible Entry Norway.
“We mitigate the risk to allow the warfighting commanders to get after the high-risk training that we need to stay relevant when approaching a near-peer advisory in the coming years,” explains Capt. Justin Reynolds, MedeVac Operations Officer from Charlie Company, 1-214th General Support Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. “In terms of the morale of the warfighter, we help them feel more comfortable. [They know] that we’re there to save their lives, provide en route care and take them safely to a hospital.”
About 10 medical personnel from the 16th Sustainment Brigade out of Baumholder, Germany also took part in the exercise. They were set up in a medical tent right next to the drop zone as part of a medical base camp consisting of about 25 multinational personnel.
“We are here providing real-world medical support for the Joint Forcible Entry, as part of Swift Response, a multinational exercise,” said Maj. James Dungca, a brigade surgeon from the 16th Sustainment Brigade. “We have our Norwegian hosts, us the American forces, and the Spanish forces. Just by the setup alone, you can see the interoperability at work.”
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rangel, a medic from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska headed up the U.S. Army medics on-site at the DZ medical basecamp.
“We are the primary medical coverage, along with the Norwegians, for Swift Response,” Rangel explained. “For our part, we’ll take any real-world casualties off the drop zone and coordinate with the Norwegians for their evacuation to three primary treatment facilities within Norway.”
Along with U.S. and Norwegian medical personnel, the Spanish Army also provided assistance for the Joint Forcible Entry.
“There are two tents [at the medical base camp], we have three beds [in each tent] and one of the beds is for the Spanish medical team,” said Spanish Army Lt. Juan Diaz Gutierrez, a medical doctor from Brigada Paracaidista (paratroopers brigade), Spain. “Captain Decastro who is the Spanish nurse, and myself as a medical doctor to attend the exercise today.”
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade MedEvac team took the opportunity to learn and exchange training and ideas with their Norwegian counterparts.
“It’s really a wonderful opportunity to learn from the Norwegians, they’re experts in their own backyard, '' Reynolds said. “We were able to take some things that they’ve known their whole lives and integrate it into our doctrine to help us stay relevant.”
When asked what gets him excited about his job, Reynolds adds, “For me the symbolism of being a medical platform, I think that’s something inherently noble that I’m proud to be a part of.”
Exercise Swift Response 2022 is an annual multinational training exercise, which takes place in Eastern Europe, the Arctic High North, Baltics and Balkans from May 2-20, 2022. The purpose of the exercise is to present combat credible Army forces in Europe and Africa and enhance readiness by building airborne interoperability with Allies and Partners and the integration of joint service partnerships.