South African and US military members team up for Shared Accord

South African and US military members team up for Shared Accord
NATO military ceremony, Pabrade, Lithuania in November 2014

A team of U.S. Army Soldiers, from the New York Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve and Southern European Task Force, Africa, partnered with medical professionals with the South African National Defense Force to provide medical care to about 3,000 South Africans in the Richards Bay area during MEDREX 2022-South Africa.

“This has been one of the best experiences in my military career,” said Col. Martin Ortiz, a New York Army National Guard doctor who took part in the exercise. “The people here are very kind and loving and we got a chance to get to know them better and forge lasting friendships through our collaborative work. It’s been hugely rewarding and I look forward to coming back.”

A great deal of planning and coordination had to be done to successfully execute the medical readiness exercise, said Major Brian Baglin, a New York Army National Guard Medical Service Corps officer.

Maj. Martin Lesenyeho, a SANDF medical officer, said the mission was successful and the Americans worked well with their counterparts.

“The U.S. military has been incredibly professional and pleasant to work with. This is my first time working on this exercise with the U.S. military, but I look forward to working with them in future exercises,” Lesenyeho said.

“Overall, the mission was a huge success not only due to our ability to develop a carefully crafted plan through critical and creative thinking, but because we were also able to quickly adapt and make modifications as the situation evolved.” Baglin said.

The exercise concluded 27 July with a closing ceremony that featured a sky diving demonstration, an anti-ambush response scenario and a helicopter casualty evacuation among others.