Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Medical Brigade, conducted an emergency deployment readiness exercise, Sept. 29, at Forward Operating Base Patriot.
The Soldiers had to generate assistance to first responders in the event of a hurricane or an attack of a nuclear facility.
EDRE support was provided by the Joint Network Node, the Expeditionary Medical Support (Air Force) and the Joint Task Force Civil Support, Fort Eustis, Virginia.
“Our role is to assist them (responders) because they don’t have all the capabilities that we have,” said Capt. Berline Marcelin, company commander, HHC, 44th Medical Bde.
An EDRE response included setting up capabilities such as communications, medical, dining, clean up, sleep, transportation and maintenance support.
During a disaster, EMEDS, for instance, can provide a more elevated level of care, said Marcelin. They can set up optometry, ground ambulance, combat stress support, mental health and surgical teams in the event of a disaster.
“They can basically start conducting surgeries on the side of a humvee ... they are that efficient,” Marcelin explained.
The JNN provides all communications and are key enablers for web access.
JTF-CS, according to its website, can anticipate, plan and prepare for any chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense support of civil authority response operations and can deploy within 24 hours of notification.
“Train like you fight, and in this case, it’s train to help,” said Cmdr. Brian Knowles, JTF-CS. “We’re simulating a lot of moving parts. One of them is how the Department of Defense will help all the federal agencies that will assist — Federal Emergency Management Agency, Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, and where our role would fit in helping the most people. I’m pretending to be the higher headquarters,” he explained.
The EDRE was an important training event.
“It’s good training and it’s going to prepare us for the real thing,” said Pfc. Philip Suarez, an HHC, 44th Medical Brigade Soldier who helped to set up a cleaning facility on site.
Spc. Jemal Victor, another Soldier assigned to HHC, 44th Medical Bde. agreed.
“If we’re called, everybody knows what to do and what duties they are assigned to,” he said.
Ultimately, the EDRE reinforces that military and DoD personnel provide a supporting role to local commands during emergency situations.
“Our primary mission is to ease suffering and minimize damage and turn operations over to local authorities when they feel like they have control,” said Sgt. Maj. Jason McRoberts, operations sergeant major, 44th Medical Bde.