Peruvian service members practice patient movement techniques, during a subject matter expert exchange between the U.S. Navy Medical Engagement Team and Peruvian military medical personnel, as part of Southern Partnership Station 2019. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis/Released.

The Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2019 Medical Engagement Team (MET) conducted their final mass casualty drill with Peruvian military medical personnel culminating a month-long series of subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and field exercises.

The U.S. and Peruvian medics conducted training on a variety of life-saving skills, including tactical combat casualty care, massive hemorrhage control, patient movement, and water and waste treatment. The MET also utilized the “train the trainer” concept, teaching several Peruvian medics to act as instructors.

“The ‘train the trainer’ concept we utilized will allow the Peruvian military to continue with training their service members in these tactical trauma care concepts, creating a medical force multiplier,” said Lt. Cmdr. Loren Nedelman, MET officer in charge, assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic Annapolis, Md.

“This was a great experience for me, my fellow service members, and my country,” said Peruvian Tecnico Primero Cilvio Moran Andrade. “As trained instructors, we can now provide our personnel with better knowledge to save their own lives and the lives of others, if necessary. We can now socialize these skills with all of our other units, even after our American allies return home. This interaction between our countries is a great benefit to our military.”

The Peruvian military was not the only one to benefit from the interactions; the MET agreed that they learned much from their Latin American counterparts.

Peruvian service members prepare to evacuate a patient with simulated injuries during a mass casualty drill between the U.S. Navy Medical Engagement Team and Peruvian military medical personnel as part of Southern Partnership Station 2019. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis/Released.

“Bringing their medical capabilities in line with our own will ensure that when we operate jointly, whether during exercises or humanitarian and disaster relief response, a common medical language will be spoken,” Nedelman added. “Utilizing the knowledge gained and shared during our mission ensures our ability to enhance cooperation and allows for us to build one team for one fight.”

Several commandos from the Peruvian Pelotones de Accion Directa participated in the training and mass casualty drill. They said that the training was “very beneficial and helpful in refreshing skills that we routinely use when on mission.”

“This training was very important because the Americans brought us new techniques and helped us update our skills,” said Peruvian Infanteria de Marina Tecnico Primero Abelino Benites Illescas. “We are pretty good at first aid, but this training will make us even better at tactical field care.”

The Peruvian participants put the skills they learned into practice during the exercise. The mass casualty drill involved treatment of a large group of service members with simulated injuries such as lacerations, fractures, penetrating injuries, burns and shock.  Members of the MET agreed that the Peruvian medics performed exceptionally and were willing and able to put the skills they learned into action.

SPS is an annual series of U.S. Navy deployments focused on exchanges with regional partner nation militaries and security forces. SPS 19 consists of training and subject matter expert exchanges to improve capacity in medical, dive operations, and engineering throughout Barbados, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru

SPS is part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ dedication to partnership and solidarity with the Caribbean, Central and South America. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is committed to supporting the efforts of partner nations to increase institutional capacity and regional collaboration for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief – one of the greatest challenges facing the region.