Saturday, October 22, 2011

Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 Celebrates 65th Anniversary

From United States Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

CAIRO (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.3 (NAMRU-3) celebrated 65 years of service in infectious disease research in Egypt Oct 20.

An event celebrating the anniversary was held at the NAMRU-3 facility with a host of guest speakers from Naval Medical Research Center), the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the U.S. Embassy and the World Health Organization.

Navy Medicine established a presence in Egypt in 1942 as part of the U.S. Typhus Commission tasked with reducing the impact of a typhus epidemic among troops and refugees during World War II. The success of this collaboration between the Navy and the government of Egypt led to the formal establishment of NAMRU-3 in 1946 to continue scientific partnership in infectious disease research.

"Navy Medicine's doctors, nurses, dentists, and medical service corps officers are dedicated to preserving and promoting health and wellness around the world," said Capt. Robin Wilkening, commanding officer, NAMRU-3. "One of the ways Navy Medicine achieves these goals is through the work of its overseas medical research laboratories. Of these, there is none with a prouder history or more impressive list of accomplishments than NAMRU-3."

In the beginning researchers focused on activities in Egypt and neighboring countries, but in recent years they have expanded activities in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. NAMRU-3 personnel and scientists routinely collaborate with regional research groups in the fields of disease surveillance, vaccine development and vector control for tropical diseases. They also train local scientists in areas of medical research and dealing with public health challenges.

H.E. Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Egypt, thanked NAMRU-3 for the command's commitment to Egypt. She said NAMRU-3 has continued to exemplify the best in collegial partnerships as it strives to counter infectious disease threats in Egypt, the eastern Mediterranean region and afar, with the help of the Egyptian government and its people.

According to Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, medicine builds bridges, builds trust and fosters cooperation.

"While the initial mission of the command was to maintain the health of deployed U.S. service men, NAMRU-3 has become an integral part of the public health system in Africa and across the Middle East," said Robinson. "The work NAMRU-3 is doing is critical because by helping those in need around the world, the United States not only helps bolster stability but also works to create conditions of hope, which are the foundations of healthy societies," said Robinson.

The lab is currently supporting force health protection in the Horn of Africa; working closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and WHO; helping Djibouti with disease surveillance; responding to disease outbreak in Yemen; fighting malaria in Liberia, conducting joint research with Ghana, and studying diseases in the Republic of Georgia.

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

Wisconsin National Guard validates its reaction force

Manning security perimeters and road blocks, and facing protestors - all in a day's work, or two, for the National Guard Reaction Force (NGRF).

The Wisconsin National Guard's NGRF completed a two-day exercise (Oct. 14) at Fort McCoy designed to validate its ability to respond in support of local authorities in the event of a real emergency. In this exercise the scenario called for a security mission at the Kewaunee Power Station (nuclear power plant) due to a nuclear emergency declaration at the site.

Maj. Joseph Adamson, the plans officer with the Wisconsin National Guard Joint Staff, said the NGRF demonstrated proficiency at roadblocks, check points, vehicle searches and critical site security.

"These guys know the task and they know it very well," Adamson said.

Part of the scenario involved anti-nuclear power protestors who arrived on the scene and became unruly, requiring a crowd control team to assemble and prevent the situation from escalating.

The crowd control team - complete with face shields, body shields, shin guards and riot batons - formed a skirmish line and slowly advanced toward the protestors.

"Under the authority of the Kewaunee County Sheriff, you must vacate the area," a team leader ordered the protestors over a loudspeaker.

Without making physical contact, the skirmish line moved the protestors away from the site to a point down the road where they could safely disperse. Once at that point, the crowd control team lowered its body shields but maintained its line formation, clearly indicating that no harm was intended to the protestors but that they would not be allowed past the skirmish line.

The NGRF is a ready combat arms force which, upon request from the governor or president, provides an initial force package of up to 125 personnel within eight hours and a follow-on force of up to 375 personnel within 24 hours. The NGRF mission rotates each year - this year it is shared by Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry.

Lt. Col. David May, deputy director of domestic operations with the Wisconsin National Guard Joint Staff, said the validation exercise went well.

"The preliminary results are extremely positive," he said, noting that the official validation is still about one month away. "This was a valuable experience for Soldiers to adjust how they approach tasks that are used in both wartime and domestic operations. They were quickly able to adopt an appropriate posture for a Wisconsin operation."