From 29th of April to 8th May, NATO’s largest series of military medical exercises took place in Bakonykúti Training Area, Hungary. It included 1600 military medical experts, from 27 Allies and a number of partner nations.

The Vigorous Warrior exercise series is organized by the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine every two years. It allows participating NATO and partner nations to exercise together in a realistic Article 3 and 5 scenario, providing an opportunity to train along civilian assets, and offering nations the ability to exercise experimental doctrinal concepts, train in a multinational environment, and stress their medical assets which include first-responder, field hospital, theatre hospital, and definitive full-capability hospital care. Participating nations transported wounded civilians and soldiers from combat zones to medical treatment facilities, and exercised casualty care and decontamination.

The exercise delivered medical support in a demanding, complex, joint multi-national operational environment, to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and interoperability between Allies during NATO joint operations.

Major General Tim Hodgetts, the Chair of the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO (COMEDS) noted that VW24 and CC24 are key components in the assurance of medical readiness. “It is only through this ‘LIVEX’ experience in a multinational environment that we can truly pressure-test our medical interoperability and our civil-military integration and I look forward to drawing any lessons into the continuous process of enhancing our preparedness”, Major General Hodgetts said.  

The Vigorous Warrior exercise series also included a significant civil-military medical cooperation dimension. The Red Cross, along with paramedics from Romania and Hungary participated in the exercise.

Exercises VW24 and CC24 are organised bi-annually by the NATO MILMED COE and NATO COMEDS, with a voluntary host nation. On this occasion both exercises were run concurrently, to provide a unique and immersive training experience, whilst offering nations the ability to train in a multinational environment, and to stress their medical assets.

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