By Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jay Cherluck, Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine 7 Public Affairs
USTKA, Poland (NNS) -- Two preventive medicine technicians (PMTs) from Navy Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 7 deployed to provide public health support in preparation for the annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2015, June 5-20.
BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability with partner nations to promote maritime safety and security in the Baltic Sea.
This was NEPMU-7's first boots on the ground mission since being re-commissioned last June after a seven-year hiatus, as well as its first embedded operation with Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa (CTF) 68.
"NEPMU-7 demonstrated full operational capability on their first deployment," said Capt. Joseph Polanin, commodore of CTF-68, "[the support was] a huge force multiplier for our task group and adjacent commands".
The two-man PMT team arrived a week prior to the start of the exercise to conduct an initial assessment at Camp Gorsko. The purpose of the camp assessment and public health support for the exercise proactively ensures personnel will have safe and adequate drinking water, food, living spaces, hygiene facilities, and information on public health risks. Within a week of the camp assessment, NATO forces made Camp Gorsko their temporary home for the duration of the operation.
"Keeping troops safe during any training exercise or combat mission is important and NEPMU-7 provides the commander another layer of safety. They find the hidden dangers by conducting field surveys and presenting solutions to leadership to keep troops safe from the unseen enemy "disease"!" said Lt. Cmdr. Bob Morrison, assistant officer in charge, Naval Forces Europe, Detachment Maritime Ashore Support Team.
The PMTs rigorous inspection and monitoring of the camp aims to mitigate risk and prevent disease that can threaten the health of forces participating in the exercise and ultimately hinder the success of military operations.
"This is a milestone for our unit, it is fantastic to see our personnel out there supporting the operating forces," said Capt. Juliann Althoff, officer in charge, NEPMU-7. "This is what we are trained to do."
NEMPU-7, located in Rota, Spain, provides theatre-wide preventive medicine support to Navy and Marine Corps forces and joint and combined military operations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, whether it's a request for information or a request for forces, the team's highly skilled and trained professionals are always ready.