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AFSOUTH aides in training partners for UN Peace keeping mission

By Staff Sgt. Adam Grant, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs / Published January 26, 2015

DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Members of Air Forces Southern military training team were given the opportunity in December 2014, to teach the Defense Institute for Medical Operations train-the-trainer course focused on the Ebola virus to approximately 100 individuals from Latin American partner countries.

As part of this training team, Maj. Brian Neese, the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) chief of international health specialists division, embarked on a seven-day temporary duty assignment aimed at building partner capacity with medical professionals from El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay, as they prepare for United Nations peacekeeping missions.

'During the TDY, we taught two, two-day courses,' Neese said. 'The first day consisted of course curriculum that included lectures about the Ebola virus and different case scenarios (that) peace keeping forces may come across; as well as specific instructions on how to don and doff the PPE.'

There are many Latin American countries that support U.N. peace keeping operations, and the training given to the El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Uruguayans will have an impact on those they train, as well as the individuals their able to assist.

The El Salvadoran military will be sending the 90 personnel who received the training to the Republic of Mali, and the Uruguayan military will be sending their personnel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Neese's team also consisted of members from the Defense Institute for Medical Operations, United States Southern Command, Air Forces Southern, and Army Southern.

'Some of the main objectives of the training we provided were raising awareness of the Ebola virus, explaining how the virus is contracted and passed, and the correct way to put on the equipment that will ensure their safety,' Neese said.

The exercise culminated with a capstone exercise, where participants were taken to a mock camp and given scenarios to work through.

'We set up two large field hospital tents, each filled with patient cots,' Neese said. 'After donning the proper personal protective equipment, the group was broken down into small teams. They were then given 12 different scenarios designed to test not only their knowledge, but their ability to act in a timely manner. They all passed.'

According to Neese, the training aided in synchronization in the region where all parties involved have a similar goal of strengthening shared capabilities, which will allow them to save the lives of others.

'I truly think that the course will make a huge difference,' Neese said. 'You never really know what you're going to see when you're facing a virus like this; you don't know where an outbreak could take place; but we know that every member that attended our course is prepared for anything that may come their way.'

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