MSSG-24 CONDUCTS HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN MULTI-NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT

26 Jun 2000 | Sgt. Kevin Dolloson

The second phase of NATO's Exercise Cooperative Partner 2000 (CP00) kicked off June 26 with a series of simulated real-world scenarios. Marines and Sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (24th MEU (SOC), along with Marines and soldiers of eight other nations were on hand to perform the necessary mission.

During real-world crisis situations, there will be refugees seeking food, safety and shelter or medical attention.  Humanitarian assistance (HA) missions are undertaken in order to establish camps until a relief agency can take over. 

Since CP00 is aimed at improving the common understanding of Peace Support Operations Doctrine and Training, and practicing the interoperability of maritime and amphibious forces, this HA exercise seemed to be the perfect opportunity for the nine nations to discover differences and turn them into similarities.

The HA security and force reaction training over the previous three days proved instrumental when a group of role players simulating angry rioters attacked the camp site.  A multi-national reaction force team - without causing any unnecessary bodily harm - quickly disbanded the rioters.

The next real-world scenario was a mass casualty drill.  Several refugees were victims of a simulated artillery strike and needed to be extracted via two CH-46 helicopters provided by HMM-263.

Members of the MEU's MSSG-24 medical section worked closely with personnel from all nations as they quickly performed first aid and triage and processed them for transport to the French Field Hospital located near the camp.

According to Chief Hospital Corpsman David Trianoski, MSSG-24 Health Services Platoon Commander, this is an excellent opportunity for the medical department of MSSG-24.

"This multi-national training environment gives us a perfect opportunity to enhance our skills," said Trianoski.

"There's a lot that we can learn from other countries, as far as medical practice goes, and a lot we can teach as well.  That's what's so good about this exercise, it's a learning experience for everyone."

Once one scenario was complete, the planning stages for the next one began.  There was a break for two hours and the next event began.

Other scenarios for the 14 hour evolution included convoy familiarization, relocation of isolated refugees and airfield and HA security.

As a whole, Cooperative Partner 2000 has proven to be beneficial to everyone. 

"Overall, logistics and contracting has been a learning experience," said Capt. Maurice Sanders, Logistics Officer, MSSG-24, from Albany, Ga.  "Dealing with so many different nations that have different standards added to the experience itself, but it was definitely worth it."

"It's been interesting learning the medical capabilities of other countries," said Capt. Mark Johnson, Operations Officer, MSSG-24, from Avon Lake, Ohio.  "The integration made the differences each country had seem subtle and it wasn't long before everyone seemed to understand the way things were being done."

For some, the multi-national experience shed new light on the perception of where Americans come from.

"Seeing the conditions some countries are subjected to makes me appreciate what I have," said LCpl. Trevor Perry, Engineer Equipment Operator, MSSG-24, from Vacaville, Calif. 

"I have really enjoyed getting to see how other countries operate and showing them how we operate," said Cpl. Christopher Hicks, Maintenance Management Specialist, MSSG-24, from Uniondale, N.Y.  "Everyone gets to weigh the pros and cons of what we learn.  I think that's a good way to perfect the way we do things, because an objective eye may see something that we can't see.  It helps us to improve and at the same time we get to learn about several other cultures."

"This has been a wonderful opportunity for the Marines and Sailors of the 24th MEU to get acquainted with other nations and the overall philosophy of how they work and their capabilities," said LtCol. Jim Daley, Commanding Officer, MSSG-24.  "The strength is in our understanding of what they bring to the table in regards to tactics and combat service support, to further enhance the ongoing relationship that has been developed."

Follow the 24th MEU (SOC) deployment on their website at www.usmc.mil/24meu.