MEDCEUR ’09 hosts DV day

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier

NIS, Serbia — Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe 2009 participants welcomed more than 200 visitors to the Nis military airport Sept. 10 as part of distinguished visitors’ day.

MEDCEUR 2009 is an annual joint and combined medical exercise with a focus on major disaster response and mass casualty situations. More than 700 exercise participants from 15 countries are taking part in this year’s exercise, which is hosted by Serbia.

DV day attendees included the Serbian minister of defense, the U.S. Embassy charge d’affaires, chiefs of the general staff of the Armed Forces for Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, a representative from U.S. European Command, the 86th Airlift Wing commander and other foreign military leaders.

The visitors were initially welcomed by Serbian Brig. Gen. Milan Mojsilovic, leader of the MEDCEUR 2009 Host Nation Planning and Execution Team, who pointed out that MEDCEUR 2009 is the biggest exercise ever held on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

“The goal of this exercise is building interoperability of deployed forces and establishing operational capabilities of responding in emergency situations,” the general said. “The support and dedication provided by the United States and partner countries during the planning process is proof that we share the same goals. I would also like to emphasize that our country’s decision to host such a significant military medical exercise with a long tradition is the best evidence that the Republic of Serbia has opted for the policy of inseparable security.”

The group then heard from exercise co-directors Col. Tim Brown and Serbian Lt. Col. Goran Desancic, who provided more details and elaborated about the importance of MEDCEUR 2009.

After the welcome speeches, the visitors started the tour of the exercise site where they were able to witness three exercise scenarios: a bus accident, a chemical spill and a building collapse.

Fifty-one children from a local high school volunteered to play simulated casualties. The children contributed to the realistic feel of the scenarios by screaming for help with fake blood and imitating wounds on their body. Upon arrival at the scenarios, exercise participants then triaged the victims according to the severity of their injuries, rendered first aid and transported them to one of the medical treatment facilities.

Next, the group visited the 458th Expeditionary Medical Squadron that stood up for the two-week exercise. The 458th EMEDS facility, housed in a mobile tent hospital, was operated by members of the 86th Medical Group. There, the guests saw how an EMEDS is set up and the functions it can provide, including an emergency room, an operating room and a dental clinic.

“The members from the 86th Medical Group are doing a magnificent job,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon, 86th AW commander. “It’s great to see them get a chance to get out and exercise their skills and show our partners some of their capabilities as well as learn something from the 15 other partner nations that are part of the


Before moving onto the last two parts of the tour the group paused to answer some questions from some of the reporters covering the event.

“Preparation is the key to success. It is also the key to preventing casualties resulting from natural or man-made disasters, and we are all better off when both civilian and military sectors from many nations prepare together,” said Jennifer Bush, U.S. Embassy charge d’affaires ad interim. “The Serbian Ministry of Defense has made it possible for all of the partner nations to work together and to prepare through shared experience. MEDCEUR 2009 is an example of the kind of partnership that will ensure that Serbia and the entire region will take its place in a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”

Maj. Gen. Robert Bailey, Air National Guard assistant to the commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said they were happy with what they observed.

“The relationships and friendships (the U.S. and Serbia) have formed I think that they will remember for many years,” the general said. “This is a very important part of our partnership with the countries that are participating in this exercise.”

General Bailey also thanked the people of Serbia, the Serbian military and the ministry of defense for providing Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors the opportunity to train with them.

After touring the 458th EMEDS, the group visited the Serbian Expeditionary Medical Support facility and the Serbian Red Cross site.

The tour concluded with lunch featuring a traditional Serbian Army lunch.

“The Serbians have done a great job,” said Jack Nelson, U.S. European Command exercise planner. “This has been wonderful. I’ve worked these exercises since 2005 and this has been the best one yet. Serbians are great to work with.”