News: Canadian forces’ medical units join Warrior Exercise
Story by Pfc. Joseph Chapman
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. — For members of Canadian armed forces taking part in a March joint training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., an American welcome meant dealing with plenty of trauma.
Three soldiers and one sailor from different Canadian forces medical units traveled to northern California to participate in training, working as members of a U.S. Army field hospital.
“I used to work with the Infantry, so I hope to gain experience with sustaining patients in a hospital setting,” said Canadian army Master Cpl. Joey Huskinson with the 18 Thunder Bay Field Ambulance.
Their presence was immediately noticeable as the training began in early March.
“We welcomed them right in from day one its been like they were a part of us,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy A. Strange from Indianapolis, a medic with the 801st Combat support Hospital.
Strange thinks having Canadian military forces train with U.S. forces will help strengthen the relationship.
“Having them train with us in this joint effort is superb,” said Strange. “It brings the nations closer.”
Canadian forces Maj. Christian Borland a nursing officer with the 18 Field Ambulance from Thunder Bay, Ontario, hopes the group learns to be diverse.
“I want them to learn that there is more than one way to accomplish the mission.” “Its not always done the way we do it.”
Canadian forces Master Cpl. Calin Ritchie the section commander with the 17 Field Ambulance from Winnipeg, Manitoba said she has experienced joint efforts like this during a 2008 deployment to Afghanistan.
Strange said, “We integrated them based on their skill level and experience. They were encouraged to express suggestions and ideas which helps improve the operation.”
Ritchie, who was responsible for training Huskinson, when he was going through a medical trades course four years ago, worked as a trauma nurse during the training.
Canadian Forces Navy Sub Lt. Cindy Rochette, a general duty nursing officer with a detachment of 1st Canadian Field Hospital from Montreal Quebec said this was her first exercise.
“I just finished all my training in January, this first experience has been great everyone was really helpful in showing me how things work here.”
The U.S. soldiers show of hospitality makes Borland want for this type of joint training to occur more often.
Borland said, “Hopefully this can become an annual event, and maybe even have U.S. soldiers come train in Canada.”