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NEWS | July 18, 2023

Australian Defence Force, US Army’s 18th Medical Command forms first ever Combined Joint Theater Medical Component during Talisman Sabre 2023

By Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes, 18th Medical Command

Members of the U.S. Army’s 18th Medical Command arrived in Australia to support Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 this week.

18th MEDCOM is slated to join its Australian Defence Forces allies, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps medical counterparts to form the first ever ADF and U.S. Combined Joint Theater Medical Component, which is responsible for coordinating and synchronizing health services and medical logistics across the Australian continent.

“This is the largest Talisman Sabre exercise to date, which makes 18th MEDCOM’s participation with our ADF medical allies critical in terms of being able to determine out how we come together to provide world class medical support across an area nearly the size of the mainland U.S.,” said U.S. Army Col. Kevin Bass, the deputy commanding officer for the 18th MEDCOM.

In addition to its core mission, the bilateral medical component plans to exercise how to stock and resupply blood products at collection points and transport it to several geographically separated nodes supporting Troops.

“We have a blood support detachment in the Northwest Region of Australia, which supports Exercise Talisman Sabre spanning three regions across the continent” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rannie Gibson, the director of operational medical logistics and plans with Marine Forces Pacific, who serves as a liaison officer to the CJMTC.

“One of our biggest-projected challenges is storing blood and shipping it over a vast land mass while ensuring it doesn’t expire due to shelf life constraints,” the medical logistician said.

The CJTMC also intends to continue exploring functions of the medical common operating picture software, commonly referred to as MEDCOP, which helps it track patients’ status and movements throughout the theater.

A major goal is to see how Australian and U.S. medical logistics standard operating procedures can complement each other and how to further develop existing processes and systems.

“Australia and the United States have a history of working together, providing health care for our people,” ADF Col. Andrew Whitworth, a senior medical officer and chief of staff assigned to the CJTMC. “Talisman Sabre gives us the opportunity to see how our respective systems complement each other and test scalability and interoperability.”

The 8th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment, a subordinate unit of 18th MEDCOM, is slated to support various missions by integrating with their Australian allies into different echelons of units to provide medical care.

The detachment is also scheduled to field test a product capable of tracking vital signs of Soldiers and giving feedback in near real time.

Talisman Sabre is the largest bilateral military exercise between Australia and the United States advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enchanting our collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns.

Keep up with the 18th Medical Command by visiting our webpage at where you can find more stories as well as links to our social media pages.


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