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Forward Deployable Preventive Medicine Unit East Completes Field Training Exercise

NORFOLK (October 2, 2018) Lt. Melissa Balint, and Industrial Hygiene Officer, works in the Chemical component during the Forward Deployable Preventive Medicine Unit’s Field Training Exercise at the Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit TWO. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Godwin/Released).

Courtesy Story
Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center

NORFOLK, VA. (NNS) – The Forward Deployable Preventive Medicine Unit (FDPMU) East Team One completed its 2018 Field Training Exercise (FTX) October 1-5, 2018 at Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Two (NEPMU-2).

The 14-member team is composed of five distinct components: preventive medicine, chemical (including a radiological subcomponent), microbiology, disease vector and logistical support. Personnel from NEPMU-2 are assigned to this expeditionary platform and “the team has been on an accelerated training cycle with a steep learning curve, however, they still managed to demonstrate competency within their components as well as the ability to interface, collaborate and problem solve,” said Lt. Cmdr. Amy Rogers, FDPMU Team One officer in charge, NEPMU-2.

This year’s simulation was set against the backdrop of Marine Corps forces deployed to Romania. On the first day of the exercise on the field adjacent to NEPMU-2, tents were erected to provide berthing and work spaces for all components. The next day, instructors from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) were on site to observe and train members of the unit as they worked through scenarios, which incorporated vector surveillance and evaluation of chemical, biological and radiological threats.

“The exercise was an eye-opener for me technically, physically and personally,” said Lt. j.g. Anurag Sharma, FDPMU Team One environmental health officer, NEPMU-2, of his experience in the simulated scenario in which his component was tasked with mitigating health risks from contaminated water and soil. “It helped me determine my strengths and weaknesses in a more powerful way than I could have gleaned from reading through cases or participating in tabletop exercises.”

This evolution comes two months before the FDPMU’s Operational Readiness Exercise, which will be held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in December. There, the team’s ability to provide force health protection in a theater of operations through rapid assessment, prevention and control of health threats will be tested so they can gain their certification as a worldwide deployable unit.

“I found this training to be one of the most rewarding of my naval career,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jermaine English, logistics, NEPMU-2. “It is invaluable to get the opportunity to be hands-on with training like this. I really appreciate that the NMCPHC provides this equipment for us to utilize in a training environment. Didactic is great but nothing beats hands-on.”

The primary goal for establishing the FDPMU was to deliver robust Deployment Medical Surveillance (DMS). The FDPMU was first deployed in 2004 to support detainee operations in the global war on terrorism. The units have since routinely deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and international and domestic military-supported humanitarian operations.

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