FAJAR HARAPAN, Malaysia --
Marines and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, and medical personnel from the Royal Malaysian Medical Corps, conducted a two-day medical and dental outreach project Aug. 29 and 30 as part of Malaysian-United States Amphibious Exercise 2014.
The purpose of the outreach was to enhance relations with the Malaysian military and local civilian population by providing care and educating local citizens on healthy medical and dental choices.
“The most beneficial part of this has been coming together with the Malaysian medical team and together delivering medical care to the local community,” said Lt. Shannon Meyer, officer in charge for the medical and dental site. “It is great seeing our docs and sailors using their skills to help.”
Being able to execute toward a designated objective is essential to overall mission accomplishment, as is having the capabilities and knowledge to prevent and treat long- and short-term injuries and illnesses during an operation.
During the first day of the outreach, doctors treated 159 patients for physical injuries or illnesses. Following treatment, doctors provided guidelines for preventing further injuries or illnesses.
On the first day of the outreach project, while doctors treated the infirm, dentists treated 70 patients and gave classes on long-term dental care. This exchange of knowledge between 11th MEU doctors and Malaysian doctors was not only good for training, but allowed both services to practice better communication, which is a key element to rapidly responding to medical emergencies.
On the second day of outreach, 11th MEU and Malaysian medical personnel treated a total 176 medical patients, 102 dental patients, and had 70 local citizens donate blood.
"They’ve welcomed us and they seem very appreciative of what we have done here,” said 1st Lt. Lyle Branch, combat support platoon commander, combat logistics company 112, Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th MEU. “It was a great learning experience for our Marines because there are a lot of different ways to do things that we get to learn from them.”
Both forces learned a lot about the other’s method of treatment. Many, including HM3 Gregory Deshields, a corpsman with CLB-11, 11th MEU, was greatly moved by the opportunity.
“This experience has been life changing,” said Deshields. “To be able to see through a different perspective is truly humbling and being able to help the community has been the best part.”
The exercise was part of the 11th MEU’s WESTPAC 14-2 deployment. The MEU will continue to conduct various missions and training evolutions within the U.S. Pacific and Central Command area of operations.