Busan, Republic of Korea -- Medical staff from U.S. 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy led a medical evacuation demonstration for the ROK Navy Fleet Surgeon immediately following Blue Ridge’s pull-in to Busan, February 5.
“We had an engagement with our Republic of Korea Navy counterparts,” said U.S. 7th Fleet Surgeon, Capt. Christine L. G. Sears. “We first discussed some of the upcoming exercises between our two countries and medical capabilities aboard our ships. In addition, we were able to get the Blue Ridge medical team to demonstrate how we would respond to a casualty. For example, a helicopter crash with some injured personnel, transporting them from the flight deck down to main medical for treatment.”
Hospital Corpsmen from the Blue Ridge medical team gave the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy medical personnel a walkthrough of how they would transport a helicopter crash casualty from the flight deck down to main medical for treatment.
“I think this is exciting and enjoyable for everybody,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Saenz, the Blue Ridge Medical Officer. “Last year we did a lot of travelling to different hospitals, sitting down and meeting people, answering questions. For senior leadership, that’s fairly routine. For Hospital Corpsmen, that’s kind of boring. I think this is more interactive for them and I’m really happy about that.”
During the demonstration, the medical teams from both navies discussed back and forth how the casualties were being handled, both sides learning and taking away knowledge from the event.
“We have difficulties moving our patients up and down ladderwells,” said ROK Navy Fleet Surgeon, Cmdr. Jae-hyon Park. “It was very helpful for us to observe how the U.S. Navy handles it. I truly appreciated this demonstration because we don’t get many opportunities to see these kinds of demonstrations in the ROK Navy, so it was very helpful to us.”
The Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet medical teams had never conducted a demonstration for a foreign navy before. This was their first time.
“I’ve done them on other ships, but this is the first one that I’ve experienced with our partnership as 7th Fleet and Blue Ridge medical,” said Capt. Sears. “It went very well, and I’m sure it will continue to do so.”
Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and as 7th Fleet command ship, is responsible for patrolling and fostering relationships within the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.