Military-reserves join together for large training at Fort McCoy

Training brings 1,600 service men and women from 17 states and three countries

It is the largest field medical-training exercise for the U.S. Department of Defense, and it’s taking place in our area.

Reserve members in the Army, Navy and Air Force, along with British and Canadian forces, are at Fort McCoy for a two-week training course.

The exercise is joining Global Medic and Combined Joint Atlantic Serpent, two extremely large medical training programs in the military.

The two bring together 1,600 service men and women from 17 states and three countries.

At Fort McCoy Friday, News 8 caught up with some of the naval reservists who, in this simulation, are operating a medical facility near a combat zone.

In times of conflict, Americans count on their service men and women. When those service men and women are hurt in the line of duty, they count on their medical personnel.

About 180 of the United States Navy’s citizen sailors, or naval reserves, are training at Fort McCoy to make sure they know the drill in the event they’re called to serve.

“We are operating an expeditionary medical facility providing treatment to the training audience here, which is simulated casualties and patients of various operations,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Parthun.

Nearly 100 percent of the Navy reserves are doing this training for their second career of taking care of our country. Most know how to stitch a wound or even save a life, because they already do those things every day.

“We have pharmacists, we have lab officers or lab technicians, we have radiologists, we have nurses, doctors and support personnel as well,” said Parthun.

One aspect of this training that’s different than most these sailors go through is the international collaboration. There are servicemen and women from Great Britian and Canada working right along side these U.S. troops.

“It’s very important that we see how each of us works, particularly as a patient could be treated here may go on to further care in a British hospital or, as I said, a German one or to other places, so if we know how each other works then all the better for it,” said Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tom Wardley.

Rear Adm. Thomas Beeman said training alongside international allies, as well as the U.S. Army and Air Force reserves, gives a more life-like situation.

“Transportation, the way we do hand offs, the way we get our warriors off the field and back to the medical support facilities, both in theater and back home, and so we’re always coordinating, we’re always testing each other, we’re always learning from each other, so this is a tremendous opportunity to test those capabilities,” Beeman said.

Beeman said one of the neat things about these Navy reservists is that most of them are healthcare providers in their civilian lives, so they can bring that training to the Navy and then they can bring their naval training back into their civilian lives.

These servicemen and women are in the middle of their two-week training at Fort McCoy. This training is offered every year, but the Navy-reserves are only required to take it once every three years.