NEWS | March 5, 2017

Reinforcing partnerships through quarterly MEDEVAC meeting

By Sgt. Bethany Huff U.S. Army Central

The Kuwait Armed Forces Hospital hosted its first medical evacuation meeting with partner nations and coalition members, March 5.

This quarterly meeting, originated in December 2015, and usually is held on Camp Arifjan. Personnel in attendance included U.S. service members, Coalition members from Canada, Denmark, and Kuwaiti army and air force.

“We previously held the meeting on Saturdays, which is our counterparts’ day off and hosted it on our base,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ron Wells, the command surgeon, Area Support Group-Kuwait. “We thought it would increase participation with our partners by changing the day to Sunday and holding it in their hospital.”

It is strongly suspected that this quarterly event was held prior to 2015, but Wells stated that there is not any solid documentation to substantiate it. However, this event is symbolic for many reasons, as it enhances the growing partnership between the United States and their host nation, Kuwait, he added.

“We have had an ongoing cooperation since the early 90’s,” stated Wells, a Hood River, Oregon, native. “The degree of that partnership had fleshed out a very robust program, which included a permanent presence in their hospital for a time.”

At one point, there was an entire floor at the KAFH for Soldiers to work hand in hand with their Kuwaiti partners. Wells continued on to say that the partnership has waxed and waned over the years, but within the past two years they have focused on re-vitalizing the partnership through various events such as this quarterly meeting.

“We hope to continue to build from here, and contribute to future exercises from the knowledge we gain from each other,” said Kuwait Army Col. Waleed Malalla, the director of KAFH and the acting chief of medical services.

This meeting is one of many partnership events that U.S. Soldiers, Airmen and Kuwaiti Soldiers and Airmen participate in together. Practical exercises such as mass casualty events and medical evacuations are the stepping stones being used to elevate the partnership.

“This meeting allows us to see how each of us would respond to a catastrophic event,” Wells said. “Our practices are very similar, which shows that we have a standardized approach to medicine universally.”