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Cambodia Medical Exercise 2012 concludes

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Nicholas S. Ranum, Marine Corps Bases Japan

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- After spending 20 days in the hot, humid climate of Cambodia, sailors and Marines with 3rd Medical Battalion wrapped up Cambodia Medical Exercise 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 21.

The battalion, a part of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in the exercise to enhance military-to-military relationships between U.S., Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Cambodian government medical personnel.

“The exercise went well,” said Lt. j.g. Kevin D. Reid, operations officer for the exercise. “We met the objective set for us by III MEF and U.S. Pacific Command, which directed the battalion to build host nation medical capabilities.”

During the exercise, 58 lectures were given to medical staff by both Cambodian and U.S. personnel and participants conducted subject-matter exchanges and bilateral medical training, according to Senior Chief Petty Officer Arne A. Marin, the senior enlisted leader for the exercise.

“The Marines and sailors performed excellently,” Reid said. “We asked a lot of the sailors and Marines, requiring them to adapt to different environmental and teaching conditions.”

The personnel at the Preaketh Mealea military hospital were extremely receptive to the training, according to Reid. After the lectures, hospital staff requested further discussions and training in the future.

While in Cambodia, the battalion also conducted a community relations project at the Aspeca Orphanage in Kampot.

The sailors and Marines worked hard to leave the buildings looking as nice as possible and worked side-by-side with the Cambodians.

“The project showed good relations between our countries,” said Sgt. Gary L. Garza, a civil affairs team chief with III MEF civil affairs. “The local populace, staff of the orphanage and personnel from the battalion helped to make it better looking and safer for the children.”

In addition to the outreach project and subject-matter exchanges, U.S. and Cambodian service members exchanged knowledge regarding types of fractures, splints, intravenous procedures, splinting, casualty carries and other basic medical techniques.

They exchanged this specialized information through classroom instruction, demonstrations and practical application exercises.

“We are happy the sailors come here to train,” said Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Lt. Cmdr. Ley Sarith, a physician’s assistant at Ream Naval Base. “The sailors helped train our newer personnel with new equipment and techniques.”

As there is not a large military presence in Phnom Penh, the hope is information will be disseminated from those who attended the exercise to personnel at other facilities throughout Cambodia, according to Reid.

“We will continue our mission to increase (Cambodia’s medical capabilities),” said Reid. “We will be taking the lessons we learned here home with us, and we hope they will do the same and share the knowledge with those around them.”

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