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News | Aug. 17, 2012

TCM airmen, Kyrgyz Republic colleagues meet for medical exchange

By Staff Sgt. Matthew Benedetti , 376th Air Expeditionary Wing

BESH KUNGEI, Kyrgyzstan (August 17, 2012) — Personnel from the 376th Expeditionary Medical Group at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, participated in a medical information exchange with their Krygyz Republic military counterparts at the Besh Kungei Trauma Center, Aug, 13.

The visit was part of a continuing informational exchange program designed to familiarize airmen and their Kyrgyz colleagues with one another’s methods, practices, and techniques. 

Medical personnel from the Kyrgyz military frequently visit the Transit Center for informational exchanges. The Besh Kungei tour marked the first visit for the Transit Center personnel and reflects a growing partnership between the airmen and their Kyrgyz Republic partners. Despite not sharing a common language, the medical professionals were able to bridge that gap through a shared commitment to medicine.

Airmen were given a tour by Col. Kuvanychek Kaliev, Besh Kungei Trauma Center commander. The hospital has capacity for 70 patients and is equipped to treat a wide range of ailments.

“I believe it is a good initiative and we have many things to share. Many people here have worked in Afghanistan and we appreciate the opportunity to gain more knowledge,” Kaliev said.

Maj. Kimberly Trnka and Capt. Stephanie Martin are clinical nurses with the 376 EMDG and coordinate the medical informational exchanges.

Trnka found the visit to Besh Kungei to be productive. “The military to military medical exchange is a great way for the medics to support the Transit Center mission of humanitarian assistance and outreach. Throughout the past few exchanges, the Kyrgyz medics visited [our medical facilities] and learned about field medicine and trauma treatment methods through lectures and demonstrations,” said Trnka, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., who is deployed from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

“Today, we visited one of their medical facilities giving them an opportunity to highlight their medical practices. It also gave us a better understanding of their capabilities so we can better design our future medical exchanges.

“This partnership allows our medical personnel to teach and learn while continuing to build a strong, trusting relationship essential to the mission of the Transit Center,” Trnka said.

Martin echoed her sentiments. “I believe our military to military exchange is an important bridge between our militaries. I was glad I was selected to work with Major Trnka to help teach and strengthen the knowledge and life-saving skills of the Kyrgyz Republic medics,” said Martin, a native of Charleston W.Va., and who is deployed from Wright-Paterson AFB, Ohio.

“It has been a rewarding experience to work with our Kyrgyz Republic counterparts and I look forward to the next informational exchange,” she said.