Military News

Thursday, September 07, 2017

U.S., Indonesian Navies Enhance Training Objectives



By Logistics Group Western Pacific

SURABAYA, Indonesia, Sept. 7, 2017 — The U.S. and Indonesian navies have come together for the 23rd iteration of a bilateral exercise and skills exchange called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT.

The exercise began today and continues through Sept. 13.

Taking place on the ground here and in the waters and airspace of the Java and Bali seas, the training is aimed at deepening maritime security cooperation between the United States and Indonesia.

"As maritime nations with shared values and common strategic interests, the United States and Indonesia enjoy a comprehensive and growing naval partnership based on mutual respect," said Navy Rear Adm. Donald D. Gabrielson, commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific and Task Force 73.

"The United States respects Indonesia's role as a regional leader in maritime security and we want to help Indonesia enhance its ability to preserve stability and protect its resources," Gabrielson said. "CARAT deepens our maritime partnership and has served as a critical building block of trust, familiarity and friendship with our Indonesian partners for more than 23 years. We see mutual benefits whenever our navies work together."

More than 300 U.S. sailors and Marines will participate in CARAT Indonesia alongside their counterparts from the Indonesian navy. The exercise will feature complex at-sea training in surface warfare; visit, board, search and seizure anti-piracy drills; a gunnery exercise; and maritime patrol operations.

Exchanging Best Practices

Additionally, personnel from both nations will exchange best practices on naval tactics during a series of military seminars ashore. Numerous skills exchanges in maritime domain awareness, aviation seminars, military law, and surface warfare symposia are planned during the shore phase of the exercise.

The U.S. 7th Fleet and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force bands will conduct numerous cultural outreach engagements with the Indonesian navy's eastern fleet band for local citizens here.

"The Indonesian navy is a valuable partner working cooperatively to ensure a secure maritime domain," said Navy Capt. Lex Walker, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7. "CARAT Indonesia provides a unique opportunity for both navies to work together even closer and enhance our mutual capabilities."

U.S. units participating in the exercise include the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River, a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and U.S. Marines assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

Indonesia has been part of the CARAT exercise series since it began in 1995. After more than two decades of annual training events between the armed forces, CARAT Indonesia remains a model for cooperation that has evolved in complexity and enables both navies to refine operations and tactics in response to both traditional and nontraditional maritime security challenges, exercise officials said.

CARAT Indonesia is part of a broader bilateral exercise series the U.S. Navy conducts with partner navies in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces.

Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 conduct planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the naval engagement activity with Vietnam, Pacific Partnership, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training.

Air Force Dentist, Army Veterinarian Team Up for K-9 Root Canal



By Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Sharman 386th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Sept. 7, 2017 — In a deployed environment, adequate medical care is crucial to ensuring people can execute the mission. Airmen need to be physically and mentally healthy or the mission could suffer. The 386th Expeditionary Medical Group boasts a medical clinic, physical therapist, mental health team and dental clinic as just some of the services paramount to keeping airmen mission-ready and in the fight.

But what do you do when an airman needs medical attention and isn't a person?

This was a riddle that Army Capt. (Dr.) Margot Boucher, the 358th Medical Detachment officer in charge and veterinary doctor at the base veterinary treatment facility, had to solve recently when Arthur, a military working dog valued at almost $200,000, was brought to her clinic with a fractured tooth.

"Arthur was doing bite training, bit the wrong way and tore part of his canine tooth off, so he had a fracture to the gum line on one of his strong biting teeth," Boucher explained. "The big concern with that, in addition to being a painful condition, is that they can become infected if bacteria were to travel down the tooth canal."

Boucher, a reservist deployed from the 993rd Medical Detachment of Fitzsimons Army Reserve Center in Aroura, Colorado, works as an emergency room veterinarian as a civilian. While she is well-versed in the medical side of veterinary medicine, she said, she knew she wasn't an expert in veterinary dentistry. To get Arthur the care he needed, Boucher reached out to her Air Force counterparts at the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group for help.

"In this environment, I'm kind of all they've got," said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Brent Waldman, the 386th Medical Operations flight commander and dentist. "I've done four or five of these on dogs, but I don't do these often. I felt very comfortable doing it, because dentistry on a human tooth versus a dog tooth is kind of the same if you know the internal anatomy of the tooth."

Waldman performed a root canal on Arthur, a Belgian Malinois. The procedure involved drilling into the tooth and removing soft tissues, such as nerves and blood vessels, to hollow the tooth out, Waldman said. After the tooth was hollowed out and a canal was created, it was filled and sealed with a silver filling. The procedure for Arthur was the same Waldman would do on a human patient, he said.

"The reason why you do a root canal is because the likelihood of there being an infection or other issue with that tooth is significantly decreased," said Waldman, who is deployed from the 21st Medical Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. "This is crucial for a military working dog, because without his teeth, Arthur may be removed from duty."

Military working dogs are trained to detect and perform patrol missions which can involve biting a suspect to detain them or protect their handler. This is why dental health is crucial.

"Those canine teeth are their main defensive and offensive tools," Waldman said. "A dog with bad teeth, … it's like a sniper having a broken trigger finger."

Help From the Veterinarian

While Waldman had experience doing dental procedures on military working dogs, he still needed the expertise Boucher had in veterinary medicine.

"Typically when we collaborate with human providers, we'll still manage the anesthesia and the medical side of the procedure," Boucher said. "Usually if they are unfamiliar with the anatomical differences, we'll talk them through that and familiarize them with the differences between animal and human anatomy, but in terms of dentistry, it's very similar. The procedure is the same, but the tooth is shaped a little differently."

Prior to the procedure, Boucher conducted pre-anesthetic blood tests to make sure 6-year-old Arthur didn't have any conditions anesthesia would complicate. During the root canal, Boucher watched Arthur closely and monitored his heart rate and blood oxygen saturation while making minor adjustments to his sedation as needed.

The procedure was successful, and Arthur returned to his deployed location with his handler a few days after. Were it not for the interservice and interdisciplinary teamwork of Boucher and Waldman, Arthur and his handler may have had to travel back to the United States to get the medical care.
"It's a great service to be able to do," Waldman said. "If we couldn't do this, Arthur and his handler would have probably had to be taken out of theater to a location where they had the capability to do this procedure. It saved a ton of time to be able to do this here and get Arthur back to protecting our warfighters."

Marines Forces Reserve answers Texas's call



By Pfc. Samantha Schwoch , Marine Corps Forces Reserves

U.S. Marines with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion and 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, came together in wake of Hurricane Harvey to conduct search and rescue missions and provide disaster relief to effected areas of Texas and Louisiana, Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2017.

Hurricane Harvey was a storm of record breaking proportions, dropping an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water or 51 inches of rain in areas of both Texas and Louisiana. U.S. Marines supported lead federal agencies and worked closely with state and local officials to conduct search and rescue missions. With flood waters rising to record proportion, the Marines’ amphibious capabilities, which make them unique amongst the services, allowed them to swiftly rescue residents in distress.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve is exceptional in its ability to respond quickly to any call and to flexibly conduct operations through air, logistics and ground elements. For example, the Marines rapidly mobilized and used their amphibious assault vehicles designed to transport Marines from ship to shore for rescuing approximately 327 residents from flood affected areas. 

“We were called up to come out and provide humanitarian assistance to the local population,” said Gunnery Sgt. Alan Daigle, a platoon sergeant with 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve. “We got the call to come over to east Texas, into Beaumont, Lumberton and Port Arthur areas. So we’ve been doing humanitarian missions, going out with the swift water rescue survival team and finding areas that traditional military vehicles cannot get in and out of. The amphibious assault vehicles help us get to those areas.”

Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 rescued almost 1,300 locals and countless animals from the affected areas.

“We got our first mission to Clearview, Texas, to help the local authorities there to go to these neighborhoods that were unreached,” said Sgt. Brad L. Coats, a reconnaissance Marine with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve. “They had us going house to house via Zodiac, which is our combat rubber rafts, checking on the individuals that were in these houses to see if they wanted to be rescued or if they needed supplies.”

The units from Marine Forces Reserve focused on life-saving efforts throughout south east Texas, where many of the Marines are from. Charlie Company, 4th AAV Bn is located in Galveston, Texas and 4th Reconnaissance Bn, in San Antonio. The Texas based Marines have longstanding relationships in the surrounding communities where they live and work.

“We have a personal responsibility to pull together because it’s like our home is being invaded in a way,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Hough, a reconnaissance Marine with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th MarDiv, MARFORRES. “Since all of us are from San Antonio and the surrounding areas essentially it’s more than just a duty but more of a personal responsibility to help out our fellow communities, it’s the best part about having that special bond together, especially in Texas.”