A team of nine medical experts from the West Virginia and New Jersey National Guards recently took part in a Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) at the Qatar Emiri Land Force Artillery School in Al Rayyan Municipality, Qatar, Sept. 8-12, 2019.
This weeklong event provided an opportunity to share knowledge and best practices on TCCC with the Qatari Emiri Land Forces (QELF), Qatar’s largest branch of military, to better enhance their performance and understanding of basic lifesaving techniques.
Eleven QELF members were trained during the engagement, many of whom had no prior knowledge of basic first aid or combat medicine. Over the course of the exchange, West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG) Lt. Col. John Snedegar, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Hill and Staff Sgt. Christal Miller, along with five medics from the 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry, New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG), shared their medical knowledge and the basic principles of TCCC with the QELF.
“It was very rewarding to work with our Qatari partners,” said Snedegar. “While we are different in many ways when it comes to our culture and language, as soldiers, we have a kindred spirit when caring for the wounded. This opportunity to share best practices between us allowed everyone involved to be prepared to participate in coalition operations.”
The course included hands-on instruction and practical application exercises to build confidence for the course participants.
“Working with the Qataris and our West Virginia counterparts has been a great experience,” said Sgt. Joseph Fiore of the 114th Infantry, NJARNG. “Being able to come together shortly after meeting and being able to work together to train our host nation is a true testament to the training and professionalism shown by both states.”
WVARNG Capt. Allen Jordan, State Partnership Program Coordinator – Qatar, explained that many of the QELF soldiers had minimal experience with combat medicine and were highly inquisitive and appreciative of the combined efforts of West Virginia and New Jersey. He also stated that they SMEE team was able to highlight important medical procedures like a needle decompression or explain a tension pneumothorax, which the Qataris had never seen or heard of before the training.
“It’s been a wonder experience getting to share knowledge and skills with the Qatari soldiers,” said Hill, who works at the WVNG’s Medical Detachment. “I was not sure what to expect being a female, but found our Qatari partners to be open and welcoming during the entire exchange, which was a great opportunity and learning experience for me.”
“The barriers of nationality were broken down and we accomplished the mission based on our common purpose of saving lives,” said Miller, who also works for the WVNG’s Medical Detachment.
This SMEE is one of many recent West Virginia-Qatar State Partnership Program meetings to be held since the announcement of the new partnership in May 2018, which marked the second partner nation for the WVNG and the sixth SPP country in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for the National Guard.
Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG seeks to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training interactions. In addition, the two entities work closely together to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.
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