Medics practice on a simulated casualty (Picture: British Army).
A team of British and American airborne medics have been training together as part of Exercise Saber Junction.
The NATO exercise is being carried out in Germany and saw 19 Medical Squadron, 16 Medical Regiment join US Army medics from Charlie Company, 173rd Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) at a joint field hospital.
The teams familiarised themselves with each other’s best practices and equipment, after which a series of casualties with simulated combat injuries – such as broken bones and ruptured organs - were brought in for treatment.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Baker, Commanding Officer of 173rd BSB, said: “We’ve trained together before, but we operated side-by-side then and we’re now working as a joint venture.
"You see the different uniforms in each of our facilities, worn by patients or medics, depending on where they’re best treated or working.
"Both units’ personnel share a passion for giving the best care to patients, and the more we train together the better prepared we will be if we go into conflict together.”
For most, the exercise was a continuation of daily army life, but for some participants it was a drastic change from their routine.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Hunt normally works as an anaesthetic consultant in Frimley Park Hospital.
He says his work for the NHS keeps him up to date with medical best practice:
“Working as an NHS surgeon keeps my skills current so I’m ready to deploy with the Army, and I take my teamwork and leadership skills and experience of trauma surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq into the NHS.
"On Saber Junction we’ve quickly built a real symbiotic relationship with Charlie Company, and working together we can provide much more comprehensive clinical treatment and care.”
Major James Preshaw, Officer Commanding 19 Med Sqn, said the chance to train together with NATO allies was a valuable opportunity:
“Saber Junction is a unique opportunity to train as an independent medical squadron alongside our US counterparts, which is a new challenge for our soldiers in a different environment.
"Working together as one increases the medical capabilities and capacity over what our units could do individually.
"Our strength is that we have a surgical team and clinical care for more acute patients; 173 BSB has a larger inpatient capacity and specialist primary healthcare functions, such as behavioural health.”
The exercise will end on 1 October.
Saber Junction began on 4th September and will conclude on 1st October.