Kaiserslautern, Germany – U.S. Army medical leaders, planners and logisticians from across Europe took part in a three-day Strategic Health Readiness Workshop in Kaiserslautern, Germany Aug. 1-3. The workshop was the first of three planned annual events that focus on long range medical readiness objectives for the entire theater.
The host for the three-day workshop was Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray, command surgeon for U.S. Army Europe and Africa. Murray is also commander of Medical Readiness Command, Europe and director of Defense Health Agency Region Europe.
“We want our Soldiers who are stationed in Europe and Africa to know that if they are injured or ill, they will receive the best medical care no matter where they are,” said Murray. “If that means forward based care, then our field medical units need to be ready to provide that care. If we end up having to evacuate an injured Soldier to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and possibly back to the Continental United States, then we are with them every step of the way. That integration of care starts here where our theater-based Army medical forces plan, train and execute as a single team."
According to individuals involved in planning the Strategic Health Readiness Workshop, the event provided a unique opportunity to build readiness across the entire theater medical force.
“Medical care is complicated work,” said Col. Ross Witters, deputy command surgeon for U.S. Army Europe and Africa. “We simply can’t exercise every piece of our medical care system in any single training exercise. So, in this week’s Strategic Health Readiness Workshop we looked at conducting multiple training exercises over a four-year period to make sure we are building readiness across the entire medical force."
In addition to forging closer working relations among the attendees, the three-day workshop provided an opportunity for U.S. Army medical leaders to combine their efforts regarding medical exercise planning, theater mission assets, and other medical engagements within the European and African theaters of operation.
“Our European and African medical exercise programs are excellent opportunities to evaluate and test new medical capabilities,” added Witters. “In addition, we also partner with the Army Medical Center of Excellence in San Antonio, Texas so we can evaluate these emerging capabilities in both large scale combat and austere environments.”
According to senior medical officials, supporting the warfighter and their mission is a top priority for Army medical leaders across the theater and area of operation.
“This week’s health readiness workshop is where USAREUR-AF, MEDCOM and Army Material Command medical units integrate our exercise programs across both Europe and Africa,” said Dan McGill, staff director for the command surgeon office, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. “This process allows us to build readiness in the full Army health system. As a team, we closely examine how we are going to work together and integrate our sustainment and protection for war fighting functions. Our Soldiers must have access to the very best medical care regardless of their unit or location, that is the end state of our operational medical system.”
Planning is already underway for the next Strategic Health Readiness Workshop to be held in Dec. of this this year.