DUSHANBE, Tajikistan –
Virginia National Guard Soldiers conducted a medical infantry tactics exchange with the Republic of Tajikistan March 5-10, 2023, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The exchange, which took place at a military installation in Dushanbe, was conducted in support of the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program, in which Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.
The medical exchange team, which was composed of four Soldiers assigned to the Charlottesville-based Charlie Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion and the Fort Barfoot-based 34th Civil Support Team, had a combined 40 years of medical experience.
The medical exchange focused on the new standards of Tactical Combat Casualty Care - All Service Members with additional focus on more enhanced medical care. Tajikistan personnel consisted of men and women with experience ranging from medical doctors specializing in cardiology and neurology to law enforcement and nurses along their borders.
As part of the exchange, the team shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajikistan partners. First Sergeant Alton Sturdifen, the noncommissioned officer in charge, said he was thrilled the Soldiers got such a unique experience to train alongside foreign medical partners.
In addition, Sgt. 1st Class William Havens, the medical NCO with the 34th CST, shared his 21 years of military medical knowledge as a nurse and a medic, ranging from amputation and neurological rehabilitation to labor and delivery and emergency field surgery with Airborne Forward Surgical Teams. Havens said he looks forward to having more instructors participate in foreign exchanges in the near future to diversify the impact that the medics can have and to allow for a broader representation of their contributions to the mission of the Virginia National Guard.
"It was very exciting and fulfilling working with the Tajiks,” Havens said. “All of us benefitted from a shared understanding of self-aid and ‘buddy’ aid while ensuring mission completion. This training was not intended to change the Tajik’s or American medical planning and training, but exchange ideas and information to better enhance future endeavors during combat and non-combat exercises.”