Story by Sgt. James D. Sims
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
THEBEPHATSHWA AIR BASE, Botswana - Members of the 396th Combat Support Hospital, Army Reserves out of Spokane, Wash., conducted an ambulance loading and litter carry training class for members of the Botswana Defense Force medical team during Southern Accord 12 at Thebephatshwa Air Base, Botswana.
SA12 brings together U.S. military personnel with their counterparts from the BDF in order to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.
"I've learned a lot from these lessons," said Sgt. Ontiretse Tapele, a medic with the BDF. "Some of the things we didn't know and some learned better techniques. From now on we will practice them for the people we are going to help."
It is not so much teaching as it is sharing techniques, because the BDF is very well trained, said Staff Sgt. Loretta Myers from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, with the 396th.
There were about 20 BDF soldiers on hand to participate in the class.
"The BDF asks a lot of really good questions during training and they are a lot of fun to work with," said Myers.
Participating members of the BDF appreciated the training, as well as the opportunity to interact with their American counterparts.
"I think the training is fantastic," said Capt. Edward Letswee of the BDF medical corps. "They showed us their way of loading the ambulance and also the different litter carries. Some of these techniques we already use, but they showed us some variations, perhaps to make it easier."
As the training continues, the U.S. and BDF gain experience and knowledge, as well as fostering relationships which participants would like to see continue to develop.
"I would like to thank the U.S. Army for their duty and I hope this type of training continues and does not end here," said Letswee. "I have learned a lot of new things."