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NEWS | Jan. 8, 2024

VNG conducts medical evacuation exchange in Tajikistan

By Staff Reports | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Virginia National Guard Soldiers conducted a medical evacuation tactics exchange with the Republic of Tajikistan Dec. 4-9, 2023, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Training 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, composed of Soldiers assigned to the Hanover-based 229th Military Police Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, and the Fort Barfoot-based Medical Command, conducted the five-day exchange at a military installation in Dushanbe. 

“As part of the exchange, the team shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajikistan partners,” said Maj. Isaac Rivera, the VNG’s State Partnership Program director. 

The medical exchange focused on the new standards of Tactical Combat Casualty Care - All Service Members with a primary focus on medical evacuation. Tajikistan personnel consisted of men and women with experience ranging from medical doctors specializing in cardiology and neurology, law enforcement and nurses along their borders.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Weakley, the noncommissioned officer in charge, said he was appreciative of the opportunity provided by the State Partnership Program for the soldiers to get such a unique experience to train alongside foreign medical partners.

"It was very exciting and fulfilling working with the Tajiks,” said Weakley. “Both instructors and students benefitted from a medical knowledge exchange between each other. The training was not intended to change the Tajik’s or American medical planning, treatment, or evacuation procedures, but to exchange ideas and best practices from each group, to better enhance future endeavors during combat and non-combat exercises.” 

In addition to Weakley, Rivera said Sgt. Zachary Cressman was instrumental in contributing to a successful exchange, sharing 12 years of military medical knowledge as well as knowledge gained from his civilian firefighter and emergency medical technician experience. 

“I’m looking 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,” said Cressman. 

In July 2023, the VNG and Tajikistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of their formal partnership in the State Partnership Program, which itself just celebrated its 30-year anniversary. The relationship has benefitted all parties, from sharing subject matter expertise throughout 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staffs and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.

Read more about the State Partnership Program at

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