CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (May 14, 2012) -- Third Army and the Kuwait military conducted a joint medical evacuation exercise April 26.

The exercise began with a simulated active shooter. A simulated casualty was then transported here for medical treatment via a Kuwaiti military helicopter.

The exercise tested a contingency plan which was put in place in the event that U.S. military helicopters were not available to move the casualty, said Capt. Michael K. Okikawa, medical regulating officer, 325th Combat Support Hospital (Forward).

One of the goals for the MEDEVAC was to reach Camp Arifjan in 20 minutes, the same standard for U.S. operations, explained Okikawa.

"It went very well," Okikawa stated. "The Kuwaitis were ready to transport the patient on time and arrived safely."

The operation put the cooperation of the U.S. and Kuwaiti military to the test.

"Cooperation is necessary," said Sgt. Matthew T. Sebastian, assistant emergency room noncommissioned officer in charge and shift leader, 325th CSH (FWD). "It's important for us to understand each other, so missions such as this one can be a success."

In order to achieve this understanding, U.S. and Kuwaiti military personnel need to familiarize themselves with the procedures and equipment of their partner nation, said Sebastian.

"We held this exercise so we could familiarize ourselves with the Kuwaiti helicopter, as well as familiarize the Kuwaiti flight crew with our landing pad," explained Sebastian.

Because the helicopter is a different design than its American counterpart, the ground crew from the 325th CSH (FWD) had obstacles to overcome.

"For one, this helicopter is a lot higher off the ground, so unloading the patient is more difficult," said Sebastian. "Also, I noticed the rear rotor is on the opposite side than our helicopters."

By conducting exercises in a controlled environment, these obstacles and safety concerns can be addressed before an actual emergency occurs.

Third Army is dedicated to shaping the future by holding joint exercises with partner nations.