Navy's Medical Support Vital to Operations

By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2007 - Throughout the Middle East, the U.S. Navy provides vital medical support to U.S. troops serving in the war on terror, the Navy surgeon general said today during a visit to the region.

Navy Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr. spoke to online journalists and "bloggers" from Iraq, where he was midway into a trip touring medical facilities in the region. Robinson has visited U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, in Bahrain; Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; and Camp Buehring, Kuwait, which is 50 miles from the Iraqi border.

In Camp Arifijan, Robinson visited the 44-bed U.S. Military Hospital Kuwait, staffed by Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait, which includes about 370 Navy medical personnel from 30 different health care facilities. Medical professionals there provide care to the 20,000 coalition forces in Kuwait using modular shelters that are set up in less than 48 hours.

"By providing world-class medical care to the U.S. Army Central and the 1st Sustainment Command, which has command and control of logistics in the entire (U.S. Central Command area of responsibility), Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait is playing a vital role in supplying and sustaining combat operations," Robinson said.

In Camp Arifjan, Robinson said his staff also toured the warrior transition mall, which is offered to all Navy individual augmentees returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. The warrior transition mall gives sailors three to five days to acclimate out of combat operations and decompress, he said. Multidisciplinary teams of health professionals, including mental health professionals and chaplains, screen the troops for any operational stress issues that may be confronted as they return home.

Camp Buehring serves as the last training and staging base for tens of thousands of Iraqi-bound troops, and Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait provides primary care to about 10,000 soldiers there, Robinson said.

This weekend, Robinson and his staff are flying to Landstuhl, Germany, to observe the medical system and the casualty evacuation system, he said. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center can accommodate 75 seriously wounded servicemembers airlifted from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and is just a part of the continuum of care for those wounded in combat, he said.

"Combat casualty care is a continuum of care, which begins with the corpsmen in the field, alongside whatever warrior is there. In this instance, corpsmen are always with our Marines," Robinson said. "It progresses to forward resuscitative care units, which are in theater, and it culminates in care provided through en-route care of our patients as they're evacuated to the rear and our military hospitals."

Robinson said the Navy has plenty of medical professionals to treat combat veterans. The service's challenge is to properly screen troops for physical or mental problems and make sure they get treatment they need, he said.

Navy's Medical Support Vital to Operations, Surgeon General Says [ ]