By Spc. Jess RaaschJuly 25, 2011
ACCRA, Ghana (Army News Service, July 25, 2011) -- The a joint humanitarian assistance exercise between the United States and Ghana Armed Forces, MEDFLAG 11, ended July 21, with a culminating event at the nearby Ghana army base, Burma Camp.
Sponsored by U.S. Army Africa, the bilateral MEDFLAG 11 exercise strengthened the relationship between the U.S. and Ghana through 10 days of collaborative training and sharing of medical expertise, as well as joint humanitarian civilian assistance in local communities. Twenty-seven Soldiers from the North Dakota National Guard, all but one of whom serve in the 814th Medical Company, played active roles in the exercise.
After five days of classroom instruction and three days of working with the U.S. troops at humanitarian civic assistance sites, the two teams brought the event to a close by simulating a scenario in which servicemembers of the GAF and Ghana's National Disaster Management Organization, similar to FEMA in the U.S., had to respond to an explosion that left a total of 50 casualties.
Leadership from both the U.S. and Ghanaian forces watched from the sidelines as the GAF team displayed their new and reviewed knowledge in a large field.
The GAF servicemembers had to simulate everything from addressing which patients needed evacuation to actually applying bandages to the mock wounds.
After completing the scenario demonstration, distinguished guests shared how MEDFLAG 11 met high expectations.
"MEDFLAG 2011 has been conducted achieving its mission and specific objectives," said Lt. Col. Gao Appiah, a neurosurgeon with the GAF 37th Military Hospital in Accra.
During the HCA sites, the two teams joined together to treat 1,170 patients with medical care, 124 patients with dental care, and 2,324 animals with care.
"The good news is we've got about five more medical-type events here in the next coming year here in Ghana and we look forward to those opportunities to develop our partnership, our skills, and our relationships," said U.S. Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, commander of U.S. Army Africa, while expressing his satisfaction with the success of MEDFLAG 11. "It all comes down to supporting our civilian population, the people of our countries, and that is what an armed force does, and that is what this exercise demonstrates to all of us."
MEDFLAG, a key program in the United States' efforts to partner with the Government of Ghana, is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and African partner militaries with the aim of establishing and developing military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort, and capacity-building.
"It is hoped that this level of cooperation and interoperability can be duplicated by personnel from both armed forces who have not been part of this exercise in the future," said Appiah.
Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command. Dedicated to positive change in Africa, U.S. Army Africa enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote security, stability, and peace.
(Spc. Jess Raasch writes for 116th Public Affairs Detachment)