About 80 Belgian soldiers participated in Vigorous Warrior 19, NATO’s largest medical exercise.
Organized every two years since 2011, Vigorous Warrior is NATO’s only multi-national medical exercise organized by the NATO Center of Excellence for Military Medicine. So far the participants were not so numerous. This edition is unprecedented in its scale with more than 2,500 military personnel from 39 countries and the contribution of 300 participants from the civilian world. The exercise was organized by the Romanian armed forces, which provided 750 soldiers. Based in Cincu, Romania, for the most part, NATO troops began deploying at the beginning of the month before moving to the active phase of the exercise on April 7 with an expected end on April 12. The evacuation sites are located in Germany, Great Britain and Hungary.
The Medical team comprises 80 men, as well as two detachments who provide Role 1 Dingo ambulances and Unimog evacuation ambulances. Most of the participating units are from the 2nd and 3rd EMI, as well as from the Astrid Reine Military Hospital and the Headquarters of the Operational Medical Command. Belgium leads the multinational team in Role 2, with an emergency and orthopaedic surgical team. It also provides a MEDEVAC team and a centre for coordination and patient evacuation. Belgian military personnel are also part of the trainer, observer and exercise evaluation team with Dutch colleagues. In addition, a Belgian “Trauma Team” participated in a study run by the Imperial College of London during the exercise.
The training is focussed on team integration on a national and international basis, under the form of a field training exercise. A scenario in Bucharest plays out in rescuing people trapped under damaged buildings or trapped at high altitude. As for the Composante Medical, the aim was to test its own procedures, first of all in a single module, then procedures between modules, and, at the end of the exercise, with a multinational integration.