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Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs)

USAF medic attends to a patient during a MEDRETE.

USAF medic attends to a patient during a MEDRETE.

The Medical Readiness Training Exercises, better known as MEDRETEs, are U. S. Southern Command-sponsored readiness training exercises designed to provide humanitarian assistance and free medical care to the people of the host nation, while helping improve the skills of U.S. military medical forces and those of military medical professionals of the host nation. MEDRETEs allow U.S. military medical personnel to perform critical medical skills and execute the pre-deployment, deployment, and redeployment process. The MEDRETE also provides U.S. military personnel the opportunity to work with other militaries, civilian personnel and host national non-governmental agencies. 

The MEDRETE program is one of the premier U.S. engagement efforts in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility, giving American military health care personnel the opportunity to have a positive impact on thousands of people who may not have had any medical care in years. It is also one of the military's more unique and successful training programs, providing invaluable real-world preparation for troops while reaching out to and working alongside partner nations.

Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), the air and space component to USSOUTHCOM, plans and executes about 30 MEDRETEs in locations throughout the USSOUTHCOM AOR each year. For all U.S. Air Force-lead MEDRETEs in this AOR, AFSOUTH provides approximately one million dollars in planning and executing funds. On average, about 750 patients are seen per day during most AFSOUTH-lead general medicine MEDRETEs.

There are several mission objectives to MEDRETES, including providing U.S. military personnel training in delivery of medical care in austere environments, promoting diplomatic relations between the U.S. and other host nations in the Caribbean and Central and South America; and providing humanitarian and civic assistance via a long-term proactive program. 

These exercises bring together key members of the U.S. and foreign militaries, U.S. Embassy Country Teams, U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's), Host Nation (HN) government agencies and local civilian organizations. These entities work closely to evaluate and select sites that are ideal for providing a positive impact to needy communities. In order to conduct MEDRETEs throughout the Americas, personnel from both active, guard, and reserve components of the U.S. military work side-by-side with their foreign counterparts. 

These counterparts may include: host nation Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations, bilingual schools and a variety of community members. 

The following types of MEDRETES are conducted throughout the Americas:

- GENERAL MULTI-MEDICAL SPECIALTIES - two-week MEDRETE expected to provide primary care at remote locations in conjunction with host nation's Ministry of Health. This includes, but is not limited to, preventive medicine education, pediatrics, primary medical care, immunizations, pharmacy services and dental activities including fluoridation, dental extractions, and oral hygiene education.

- SPECIALTY SURGERY TEAM - two-week surgical MEDRETE, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the management of multiple surgical problems in the following specialties: ophthalmology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, hand reconstruction, plastic surgery for cleft lip and palate and burned patients, and urology. Surgical units have the chance to train in a realistic, austere environment, setting up a surgical suite and conducting safe operations on host nation patients in conjunction with host nation physicians.

- DENTAL - two to three day Dental Readiness Training Exercise (DENTRETE) is expected to do preventive dentistry including, but not limited to, fluoride applications, pit-fissure sealant applications on school age population, fast-curing resin applications, implementation of space maintenance, extractions and dental related emergencies.

What are the most common cases attended to during general MEDRETES?
Primary medical care, which includes respiratory, gastrointestinal, dermatological issues and tropical diseases; dental care with acute infections, extractions, sealants; as well as preventive medicine education, health assessments, veterinary immunizations and de-worming.

What are the most common cases attended to during specialty MEDRETES? 
- OPHTHALMOLOGY - Cataract, strabismus, reconstructive orbital and lid surgery. 

- UROLOGY-Urethra stricture reconstruction, urinary tract stones, tumors, pediatric congenital urinary tract malformations, trauma, female incontinence. 

- OTOLARYNGOLOGY- Tympanic membrane reconstruction, mastoidectomies to control chronic middle and inner ear infections, hearing aids, trauma surgery.

- PEDIATRIC ORTHOPEDICS- Correcting hip dysphasia, chronic bone infections (osteomyelitis), acute trauma, clubfoot, congenital malformations.

- HAND SURGERY- Acute and old hand injuries including nerve, tendon and bone reconstruction, occupational therapy, congenital hand malformations.

- DENTAL- Crowns, spacers, pediatric dentistry, sealants.

- PEDIATRIC NUTRITION- Nutritional assessments, pediatric care in respiratory, gastrointestinal, dermatological and tropical diseases.

- GENERAL SURGERY- Acute trauma, surgical emergencies, gallbladder disease, hernias, gastric tumors, thyroid diseases, tonsillectomies, general surgery cases.

Does the Host Nation's Ministry of Health or any other authorities support the MEDRETEs?
Yes, the Host Nation Ministry of Health provides physicians, nurses, licensed practitioner nurses, technicians, health promoters, space at their clinics and hospitals to evaluate and treat patients, ward admission capabilities, equipment sterilization support, and more. 

What type of support does AFSOUTH receive from the sites where the MEDRETEs are held?
The Host Nation site location provide space at schools, churches or community centers to see patients.  Community leaders help with promotion and crowd control. People within the communities also help carry supplies and set up equipment.

What is the most valuable part of theses medical exercises?
The most valuable part of MEDRETEs for units deploying is that it gives them real deployment and readiness experience, as well as experience operating in austere environments.  For the host nation, MEDRETEs provide health education, disease prevention training, and personal and professional exchanges.
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Colombian Kfirs fighters train with the A-10, F-16
Always Ready to Defend! 24/7/365 🇺🇸
A true honor to work with our Partner Nation! #partnership
Check out the view from inside a Colombian Air Force refueling tanker as it performs an in-air refueling mission in the skies above Tucson, Arizona! Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3. This week has been another great example of how the U.S. and partner nation air forces train together to accomplish shared goals. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Wow! What a sight to see! Fuerza Aérea Colombiana #Kfir aircraft preparing for #RedFlag 18-3! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base Air Combat Command
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The Colombian Air Force are bringing their #Kfir's to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada for Red Flag 18-3!
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Colombian Kfirs fighters train with the A-10, F-16
Always Ready to Defend! 24/7/365 🇺🇸
A true honor to work with our Partner Nation! #partnership
Check out the view from inside a Colombian Air Force refueling tanker as it performs an in-air refueling mission in the skies above Tucson, Arizona! Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3. This week has been another great example of how the U.S. and partner nation air forces train together to accomplish shared goals. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Wow! What a sight to see! Fuerza Aérea Colombiana #Kfir aircraft preparing for #RedFlag 18-3! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base Air Combat Command
Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3! Check out our video from a Colombian 767 as the aircrew performs an in-air refueling of 3 Colombian Air Force Kfir fighters! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Volunteers from JTF-Bravo recently donated food and supplies for more than 150 Honduran families near Cane, La Paz. Service members hiked to the village carrying bags of donations to provide for the community and spent time playing soccer with the children as part of Chapel Hike 76. Our forces remain resilient and connected to our neighbors by giving back to the community. Voluntarios de nuestra organización recientemente donaron alimentos y suministros para más de 150 familias hondureñas cerca de #CaneLaPaz quienes subieron a la aldea con bolsas de donaciones para ayudar a la comunidad y compartieron su tiempo jugando fútbol con los niños, como parte de #ChapelHike76. Nuestras fuerzas siguen siendo fuertes y conectadas con nuestros vecinos al ayudar a la comunidad.
Today we said farewell to Colonel Eric Cólen Guedes, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Brazilian Air Force Liaison Officer. Colonel Cólen received a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his work as a crucial link between 12th Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force. Our Liaison Officers play a critical role in strengthening ties between 12th Air Force and our partner nation air forces. We thank Colonel Cólen for his hard work and wish him luck as he moves on to his next assignment! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Força Aérea Brasileira
Check out this live shot of the Colombians training and flying here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander met with Colombian Air Force Brig. Gen. Pablo Enrique Garcia Valencia! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🤝
The Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana has sent their finest Kfir team to participate in Red Flag 18-3! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🚩🎉 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base
Here's your chance to meet some of our Partner Nation Colombian Airmen! #RedFlag2018 🚩 🇺🇸🇨🇴
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Creech Air Force Base Airmen show-off the MQ-9 Reaper!
A Colombian Air Force pilot shows his enthusiasm about participating in the upcoming Red Flag 18-3! We are just as excited as him! 😁🎉🌎✈️
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Today we bid farewell to Colonel Kim Campbell, Commander of our 612th Theater Operations Group and 474th Air Expeditionary Group. Colonel Campbell relinquished command to Colonel Travis Ingber during a change of command ceremony at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. We thank Colonel Campbell for her leadership and wish her the best of luck in her next assignment!
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