By Mark O. PiggottJune 2, 2008
The U.S. Army's 149th Transportation Battalion, assigned to Fort Eustis, Va., trained with elements of Navy Cargo Handling Battalions ONE and TEN and the Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command for Exercise Trident Arch. The exercise has been running aboard Naval Weapons Station Yorktown-Cheatham Annex and Camp Carroll, Korea, since April 9.
Trident Arch is a NEMSCOM operation that rotates Fleet Hospitals and Expeditionary Medical Facilities from prepositioned storages sites ashore and afloat for service life extension. The exercise will conclude June 27.
The mission of NEMSCOM is to plan and execute the design, acquisition, assembly, integration, storage, shipment, maintenance and life-cycle support of Navy deployable medical systems and act as a technical advisor for deployment of these assets. As part of Trident Arch 2008, 221 containers housing a 250-bed Fleet Hospital and a 10-bed Expeditionary Medical Facility, along with 115 pieces of support equipment, was loaded onto the cargo ship MV Ocean Titan, heading for Korea - its pre-positing site.
"If there's a contingency somewhere in the world, we have these (hospitals) pre-positioned so they can be set-up, wherever directed, in support of the combatant commander," said Capt. Bob Birdwell, NEMSCOM commanding officer.
One by-product from NEMSCOM Trident Arch operation is a cargo handling training evolution for area commands. "We rotate these hospitals, bring them back for technology refreshment and inspection of materials. That's what this evolution is all about " Birdwell said. "However this (Trident Arch) becomes a joint training evolution for the cargo handling folks who are out here helping us load the ship."
"This is the best training we can get," said Army 2nd Lt. Josh Koloeea, platoon leader, 149th Transportation Company. "We're a seaport operations company, so this is the job we do in theater. This is a great opportunity to get some real world experience."
It's not just containers being loaded on the cargo ship, but support vehicles like ambulances and buses as well. "You have to be able to get the patients to the hospitals," Birdwell said. "Unlike the Army and the Air Force, who rely on other entities for base operating support, we bring that with us.
"We bring all our own vehicles to any contingency operation," he continued. "Fuels trucks, water trucks, fork lifts, back hoes, ambulances, ambulance buses... You think of it more as a medical city than just a hospital."
Besides providing training for both Army/Navy cargo handlers, Trident Arch allows the participating commands to bring in reservists and provide them with this critical training.
NEMSCOM is a tenant command on NWS Yorktown-Cheatham Annex. The NEMSCOM team of military, civilian and contracted personnel design and build modular, scable, expeditionary and fully-functional medical facilities that can be packed up and deployed anywhere in the world.