Fat 'Bullets' Removed for Training

Strong Resolve '02 is an exercise all about training. Participating in the exercise are 14,000 troops, 75 aircraft and 47 naval vessels from 12 NATO nations.

The exercise is designed to demonstrate the capability of the alliance to conduct two simultaneous operations coping with two simultaneous crises. But who would have thought that someone would offer himself up as a guinea pig in the name of training?

A joke about plastic surgery was going around the battalion headquarters that led 1st Lt. Roy Storli, medical platoon commander, to ask if anyone had fat deposits they wanted removed. Capt. Helge Smemo, command chaplain for the Norwegian Army's 6th Division, stepped forward. He explained to Storli about the deposits he had been carrying around in his arms for a couple years.

Setting the stage Once the decision was made to have the deposits removed, they decided it would be good training for all involved to act out a scenario that would have the chaplain getting shot. When the time was right, someone in the headquarters yelled, "BANG!" Chaplain Smemo fell to floor and placed a yellow Post It note on his arm that read in Norwegian, "I have been shot."

Within 30 minutes he was transported by armored ambulance to the field hospital about five minutes away. And a few minutes later was lying on a make shift operating table in tent in the middle of the woods with 10 eager medics ready to watch the procedure of removing the "bullet."

Attending Physicians Performing the procedure were Lt. Eirik Hæland and Lt. Eivind Osnes of the Medical Platoon, Armored Battalion, 6th Division. The chaplain actually had developed deposits in both arms so each doctor was able to perform a separate procedure. The patient was in good spirits as the doctors explained every step of the procedure to the on looking medics.

"I didn't notice anything except for the anesthetic," said Smemo. "But I suppose it will be worse when that wears off." In all, three deposits were removed and the patient received 10 stitches in the name of training.

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