RENA, Norway -- U.S. Marines and sailors with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade partnered with Norwegian Army soldiers in order to enhance each other’s field medical skills in preparation for Exercise Cold Response 16 Feb. 17.
About 10 of the Marines and sailors make up the shock trauma squad, which is designed to provide backup medical treatment to wounded service members when hospitals and surgeons are not readily available.
“We’re having the Norwegians bring in casualties, which range from a mass casualty incident to hypothermia. It’s testing our readiness to see how well we can perform as a second echelon of care,” said Hospital man Sean Mack, a corpsman with 2nd MEB.
Though the shock trauma squad does not possess the capabilities of a hospital, the service members can allow an additional 24 hours of survival time to the injured.
“They’re dressing up the Norwegians to where the wounds look real, we’re ripping open gear, we’re getting hands-on experience,” said Mack. “This training helps because it’s what saves lives.”
While the Marines and sailors performed notional medical care, the Norwegians also provided feedback and shared their own skillsets.
“I think small details make a huge difference,” said Capt. Bengt Haraldrast, a nurse in the Norwegian Army. “When [the U.S.] uses our materials and methods, and we know they have the same standards, we can work well together.”
The U.S. and Norwegians are conducting multiple bilateral training events in the weeks leading up to Exercise Cold Response 16, including live-fire ranges, vehicle maneuverability in icy terrain and cold weather survivability.
“The medical part in this exercise is always important,” said Haraldrast. “Giving the soldiers in the exercise the confidence they can fight on and heighten the morale because they know the medical facility will always be there for them.”
“Working with different nationalities builds that partnership and fosters their faith in our medical capabilities,” said Mack.
Cold Response is a biennial training exercise which brings together 12 NATO allies and partner nations and more than 16,000 troops to enhance joint crisis response capabilities in cold weather environments.