RESCUER and MEDCEUR exercises come together in Georgia

VAZIANI MILITARY BASE, Country of Georgia - An opening ceremony brought together military representatives from nine countries to kick off the joint military RESCUER/MEDCEUR '03 exercise.

The exercise involves about 180 service members from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CNE), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Army Reserves. In the spirit of partnership for peace, U.S. service members will serve alongside service members from Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine.

"The men and women of the United States European Command, of your partnering nations and of the Georgian Ministry of Defense, have worked long and hard together to make this exercise a reality," said guest speaker Richard Miles, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia.

The RESCUER and MEDCEUR phases are being combined for the first time in one single exercise. The RESCUER phase will be managed by CNE, and the MEDCEUR phase will be led by USAFE.

"This exercise is an excellent joint task force training scenario that is coupled with real-world medical outreach activities," said Lt. Col. Steve Cusumano, acting operations officer for RESCUER.

RESCUER will consist of a multinational emergency response from a computer simulated earthquake near Tbilisi, Georgia. The exercise trains the U.S. Task Force and participating individuals to coordinate with other nations to develop multinational disaster preparedness.

More than 200 Georgian medical students will receive training in disaster trauma management, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, multi-nation disaster medicine training or moulage training from the MEDCEUR phase. The Georgians will train to plan and conduct a mass casualty drill at the base to coincide with MEDCEUR.

A collateral benefit to the RESCUER/MEDCEUR is the Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program. The program will be traveling to the villages of Ponichala and Sartichala to provide ear, nose and throat consultations, laser-eye cataract surgery and dispense eyeglass prescriptions. At Sartichala and Akhosopeli, U.S. Civil Engineers will make improvements to the public health centers through engineering operations.

RESCUER/MEDCEUR '03 is one of many programs conducted by U.S. European Command. The exercise is scheduled to last three weeks.

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