By Sgt. 1st Class Rodney JacksonSeptember 7, 2012
Medical Exercise 2012, or MEDEX 12, is a multi-component, joint service, bi-lateral exercise focused on disaster relief efforts in the event of man-made or natural disasters. In the exercise, an 84 bed combat support hospital was set-up by the 325th Combat Support Hospital, Independence, Missouri, for the first time since 2000.
The exercise culminated with a visit from Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army Pacific.
"We have incredibly trained personnel. We have the best equipment in the world, and we can pull this stuff out anywhere, for any mission, at any time, and if you walk through this CSH (pronounced cash) hospital you can see that it has the capabilities of doing things no matter what happens, disaster man-made or natural," said Wiercinski.
Wiercinski was the commander U. S. Army Japan before taking command of USARPAC, remarked that it was one of his dreams, "to see a combat support hospital set-up in the area".
When asked what was most difficult about the process, Maj. Bradley Ladd, medical logistics officer, 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) replied, "The hardest part was the initial coordination. That effort alone was monumental."
Ladd went on to say that the planning of MEDEX 12 began October 2011 and that over ten units and agencies from across the country and the Pacific Theater came together to make this exercise a reality.
Culmination of effort leveraged a multi-component, joint, bilateral exercise that utilized an 84 bed Combat Support Hospital from Army Prepositioned Stock that integrated this capability with the Japanese Government and Military during their Disaster Response Drills, Ladd stated.
The yearly Japanese disaster response drills were performed at Fuchinobe Park, Higashibara Elementary School, and Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park in the cities of Zama and Sagamihara.
The drills included many different display tents, one in which 325th Combat Support Hospital Soldiers helped man to meet local community visitors and inform them of the support that the U.S. Army can provide and did provide during the Tsunami relief efforts in 2011.
Spc. Michael Corlay, combat medic, Medical and Dental Command Japan, described the experience of working in the disaster drills as a lot of fun and action.
"It was good getting to work with outside agencies," said Corlay.
Along with Japanese Eastern Army and U.S. military medical personnel from Camp Zama, the Camp Zama Fire Department, 78th Aviation, city police, ambulance, fire department, search and rescue, and disaster assessment personnel participated in the drills that demonstrated rescue and transport capabilities. The wounded from each drill were transported to the 325th Combat Support Hospital on Sagamihara General Depot.
Another major focus of the exercise was to showcase the Mission Training Complex-Sagami General Depot, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency display area, the Army Pre-positioned Stock warehouse, and the combat support hospital with tours. Over 180 visitors, to include 14 U.S. and Japanese generals, the Tokyo Metropolitan and Shizuoka Prefecture Governors, police officials, mayors and media personnel from 15 different media outlets, were escorted through the facilities by the Joint Visitors Bureau set up in the Mission Training Complex, 18th MEDCOM (DS), 325th CSH, and USARJ staff personnel.