SALINA, Kan. - Five representatives from the Republic of Armenia observed Vigilant Guard 2014 disaster response exercises in Salina, Kansas, on Tuesday. The delegation observed how the Kansas National Guard provides military support to civilian authorities and military emergency planning. The visit was through the State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau program designed to enhance U.S. relations with other countries.
The Kansas National Guard hosted Vigilant Guard 2014, from Monday through today. The exercise is a large-scale, multi-state disaster response scenario sponsored by U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau that tests the capabilities of emergency response agencies at all levels of government, both military and civilian.
While in Salina, the Armenian delegation visited the Salina Regional Hospital and Crisis City training venue. Additionally, they toured the Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) which is a mobile hospital of the Kansas National Guard's 190th Air Refueling Wing that can deploy for emergency response efforts.
"We have EMEDS in Armenia and we can see how you set up your area and use your experience to assist Armenians," stated 1st Lt. Artur Meliksetyan, Armenian physician and military installation general practitioner. "Basic things are similar but there are some differences. The main goal is to treat patients and help people."
The Armenians also visited the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute, Kansas University Medical Center and 911 Call Center in Kansas City, Kan.
"The experience has gone really well. There are some trials and tribulations with every exercise, but we have been able to work some things out and learn from them (Armenian delegation)," said 2nd Lt. Mindy Tran, 184th Medical Group, EMEDS emergency room nurse and civilian trauma nurse.
The State Partnership Program matches state National Guards with developing nations to foster mutually beneficial military-to-military, military-to-civilian and civilian-to-civilian relationships. The Kansas National Guard has been partnered with Armenia since 2003.