An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 18, 2022

Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery all-in during Keen Sword 23

By Grady Fontana

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- While elements of Naval Medical Forces Pacific (NMFP) deployed to Okinawa prefecture, Japan, and participated in exercise Keen Sword 23 (KS23), Nov. 10-19, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) took a whole Navy Medicine approach in the medical planning and set the conditions that enabled major involvement in support of KS23.

“This exercise shows the power of Navy Medicine as part of an integrated Naval combat capability,” said Rear Adm. Darin K. Via, deputy surgeon general of the Navy and deputy chief, BUMED. “There was operational planning and coordination across the Navy-Marine Corps team and at all levels across One Navy Medicine. This exercise lets us better evaluate how we deploy and run an expeditionary medical facility (EMF) in support of major combat operations. It was a successful test of how our units can organize, train and equip forces for force employment by the combatant commands.”

Keen Sword 23 is a biennial, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-scheduled, and U.S. Pacific Fleet-sponsored field training exercise (FTX). The joint/bilateral FTX runs through Nov. 19. KS23 is designed to enhance Japan-U.S. combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the region.

In KS23, Navy Medicine exercised the employment of expeditionary hospitalization on the First Island Chain with bilateral engagement with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). The First Island Chain refers to the first chain of major Pacific archipelagos out from the East Asian continental mainland coast.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command requested Navy Medicine provide an EMF and supporting elements to meet capability gaps in the First Island Chain, with EMF capability to receive, triage, treat, and process casualties in a mass casualty event.

BUMED provided a small headquarters element from NMFP, out of Naval Base San Diego, and EMF 150-Alpha, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., to support medical-related exercise scenarios at Camp Foster, Marine Corps Base S.D. Butler, Okinawa prefecture, Japan.

To facilitate planning, BUMED flexed its recent organizational restructure that closely aligns functions with Navy operational commands. This included the creation of a Maritime Headquarter (MHQ) and Maritime Operations Center (MOC) at BUMED that better enabled the command to integrate into the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command planning process.

In addition to the NMFP’s HQ element and EMF 150-A, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Okinawa and Yokosuka provided additional mass casualty scenario involvement.

With Navy Medicine units working in concert, the BUMED assets integrated with a JGSDF medical base at a Naha hospital in Okinawa, and executed mass casualty scenario assessment and response drills, receiving casualties from III Marine Expeditionary Forces aid stations and JGSDF dispensaries.

BUMED involvement in KS23 demonstrated a new laser focus on readiness and operational medicine—man, train and equip.

“As we pivot to embrace our new mission set and organizational structure, NMFP and all subordinate commands will continue to support the warfighter,” said Rear Adm. Guido F. Valdes, commander, NMFP. “We achieve this support by ensuring our operational platforms are optimally manned, trained, and equipped; the warfighter is physically and mentally ready to fight tonight; the installation and warfare commander are fully supported; and we remain on the cutting edge of health and medical research to enhance deployment readiness of the Joint Forces.”

In the past, Navy Medicine played a large role in the execution of the military healthcare mission at military treatment facilities (MTF). In the National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2019, Congress called for changes in the military health system (MHS), including the transfer of all MTFs to the Defense Health Agency by Sept. 30, 2021.

Navy Medicine participation in a large bilateral and joint exercise of this scale is a first since the recent MHS transformation.

“BUMED hasn’t participated in an exercise like this, to this scale in a long time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jefferson M. Moody, director of future plans, N55, and MHQ/MOC future operations director at BUMED. “KS-23 serves as an FTX environment for Navy Medicine force elements to maneuver with the joint force and bilateral partnerships and promote HSS (health services support) interoperability.”

Naval Medical Forces Pacific provides oversight for 10 NMRTCs, on the West Coast and Pacific Rim that man, train, and equip medical forces, primarily in military treatment facilities. NMFP also oversees eight research laboratories that deliver cutting edge health and medical research to enhance the deployment readiness and survivability of our Joint Forces.


Like Us
Follow Us



Trilateral talks enhance cooperation between the Philippines, Japan, and U.S.
SINGAPORE (June 3, 2023)  General Yoshihide Yoshida, Chief of Staff, Japan Joint Staff (JJS), Gen. Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command,  held the fourth AFP-JJS-USINDOPACOM Trilateral Leaders' Engagement on the margins of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 20th Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith)
June 3, 2023 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Gen. Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and General Yoshihide Yoshida, Chief of Staff, Japan Joint Staff (JJS), held the...

U.S., Japanese Defense Leaders Discuss Progress on Closer Alliance
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada answer questions during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2023. The visit comes as the United States and Japan take important strides to modernize Alliance capabilities, optimize U.S. force posture, and build links with like-minded partners following the historic U.S.-Japan “2+2” Ministerial meeting earlier this year. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)
June 2, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Japanese defense leaders are "operationalizing" agreements that are deepening the treaty alliance, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada in...

Red Flag Alaska 23-2 Kicks 0ff Soon to Enhance Multinational Interoperability
June 2, 2023 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Red Flag-Alaska 23-2, a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise, is scheduled to begin on June 12 with primary flight operations over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and is...

U.S., Philippine, Japan Coast Guards to Conduct Trilateral Engagements
Philippine Coast Guard servicemembers play music as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) arrives in Manila, Philippines, for a tri-lateral engagement with the Philippine and Japan Coast Guards, June 1, 2023. Stratton deployed to the Western Pacific under U.S. Navy 7th Fleet command to serve as a non-escalatory asset for the promotion of a rules-based order in the maritime domain by engaging with partner nations and allies in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Matt Masaschi)
June 2, 2023 - MANILA, Philippines -- The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) and crew arrived in Manila on Thursday to conduct professional exchanges and joint operations with members of the Philippine and Japan Coast Guards during...

USS Shoup Departs Sendai, Japan
CDR. Dale Tourtelotte, Commanding Officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) speaks at the welcome ceremony hosted by the Miyagi Defense Association. Shoup is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s Principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Operations Specialist 3rd class Dominik Camooso)
June 2, 2023 - SENDAI, Japan -- The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) departed Sendai, Japan after a port visit, June 1.The Yokosuka-based destroyer visit marks the first U.S. Navy ship visit...