The Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE) is a U.S. Forces Command deployment readiness exercise with a short, or no-notice, deployment to test the unit’s ability to alert, recall, and deploy under emergency conditions. The EDRE Medical Exercise (MEDEX) that took place Oct. 17 to Nov. 22, 2019 included Army medical training units, exercise control support staff, observer coaches/trainers, logistics and communications support. Training units included over 800 active duty Soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade, 44th Med. Bde., and 62nd Med. Bde. The exercise took place at two training locations in California separated by 500 miles of desert and mountainous terrain–Sierra Army Depot and the National Training Center, Fort Irwin.
The Army Reserve Medical Readiness and Training Command (MRTC) provided the training platform, including developing and executing scenarios with live role players and realistic high fidelity medical manikins. The exercise simulated battlefield conditions and challenged the medical units with various casualty events, to include mass casualties. One of the goals of the exercise was to test the smaller, more agile, and closer-to-combat field hospitals by creating strain on their medical personnel and medical logistical resources. MRTC also provided for their basic needs including tents, food, water and power. MRTC, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio–Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, enables the U.S. Armed Forces to maintain a ready status by providing campaign-quality medical training exercises.
The EDRE medical exercise also challenged the various medical units by simulating the complex logistical and organizational challenges that can be experienced during a deployment. For example, it is common for units that are not usually organized together to be deployed under a new command structure. It is necessary that they can flexibly adapt to a new chain of command and organizational structure. They also must assimilate a variety of equipment that was not previously owned or maintained by the unit.
The 531st Hospital Center (HC) from Ft. Campbell, Ky, exercised mission command over two field hospitals—the 586th Field Hospital (FH) and the 115th FH. They acquired equipment, vehicles, and generators from the Medical Regional Training Site at Camp Parks, Calif. They also acquired their medical equipment from the Army Pre-positioned Stock (APS) at Sierra Army Depot, managed by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) through the Army Surgeon General’s Medical Materiel Readiness Program (MMRP).