KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo —The North Dakota National Guard’s 814th Area Support Medical Company, of Bismarck and Grand Forks, arrived in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, last week to participate in MEDFLAG 10, a joint medical exercise focused on humanitarian assistance that will take place Sept. 6-18.
About 100 U.S. military personnel and 250 Congolese military personnel will work together to increase the combined readiness of their medical forces to respond to humanitarian emergencies.
“This exercise will provide our National Guard medical unit with invaluable experience. It’s an opportunity to work within a team to provide humanitarian aid in their area of expertise,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. I am extremely proud of our National Guardsmen as they represent our state on foreign soil.”
“This has been a great experience to work side-by-side with fellow soldiers and the other countries that are participating in this exercise. This is definitely a once and a lifetime experience.” Said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Sigl, North Dakota National Guard.
MEDFLAG 10 is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and partner militaries in Africa with the aim of establishing and developing military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort and capacity building.
MEDFLAG is an annual medical exercise that brings together U.S. military personnel with counterparts from militaries throughout Africa. MEDFLAG was initiated in 1987 as a U.S. European Command-sponsored, bilateral medical exercise to facilitate an exchange of medical information and techniques with militaries in Africa. In 2009, the MEDFLAG exercise transitioned to AFRICOM oversight.
U.S. forces participating in the exercise include U.S. Africa Command; U.S. Army Africa; U.S. Marine Corps; 5th Signal Brigade; 21st Theater Sustainment Command; 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Illinois Army National Guard; 349th and 482nd Aeromedical Dental Squadrons; 404th Civil Affairs; 409th Contracting; 814th Medical Company, North Dakota Army National Guard; 772nd Civil Support Team; the 943rd and 940th Aeromedical Dental Flights; Naval Reserve Support Activity, New Orleans Team; and the 943rd and 940th Aeromedical Dental Flights.
Congolese forces participating in the exercise include the Unit Medical Immediate Response of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Previous MEDFLAG exercises have taken place in Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Gabon, Georgia Republic, Ghana, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 150 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 52 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
To learn more about U.S. Army Africa visit www.usaraf.army.mil