DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Virginia National Guard Soldiers conducted a medical evacuation tactics exchange with the Republic of Tajikistan Dec. 4-9 in support of the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.
The medical exchange team, composed of Soldiers assigned to the Hanover-based 229th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, and the Fort Barfoot-based Medical Command, conducted the five-day exchange at a military installation in Dushanbe.
“As part of the exchange, the team shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajikistan partners,” said Maj. Isaac Rivera, the VNG’s State Partnership Program director.
The medical exchange centered on the new standards of Tactical Combat Casualty Care - All Service Members with a focus on medical evacuation. Tajikistan personnel included doctors specializing in cardiology and neurology, law enforcement and nurses.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Weakley, the noncommissioned officer in charge, said he appreciated the opportunity provided by the State Partnership Program to train alongside foreign medical partners.
"It was very exciting and fulfilling working with the Tajiks,” said Weakley. “Both instructors and students benefitted from a medical knowledge exchange between each other. The training was not intended to change the Tajik’s or American medical planning, treatment or evacuation procedures, but to exchange ideas and best practices from each group, to better enhance future endeavors during combat and non-combat exercises.”
In addition to Weakley, Rivera said Sgt. Zachary Cressman contributed to a successful exchange, sharing 12 years of medical knowledge from the military and his background as a civilian firefighter and emergency medical technician.
“I’m looking forward to having more instructors participate in foreign exchanges in the near future to diversify the impact that the medics can have and to allow for a broader representation of their contributions to the mission of the Virginia National Guard,” said Cressman.
In July, the VNG and Tajikistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of their formal partnership in the State Partnership Program, which began in 1993.
Virginia National Guard members and Tajikistan have shared subject matter expertise throughout 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staffs and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.