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French-led Croix du Sud exercise highlights HADR, combat care


Troops conducted survival, combat, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) drills during the French Armed Forces-led Croix du Sud exercise April 24 to May 6, 2023.

Participants from 19 countries gathered in the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, a French territory, to share skills and improve coordination and intervention capacities. Sgt. Kinsley Parent, a French combat medic instructor, said he was impressed with the techniques used by New Zealand combat medics.

“We have the resources, but we use it different,” Parent said, according to a United States Army 9th Mission Support Command news release. “They think of things that we French don’t see at all.”

Drills included realistic battlefield scenarios. For example, squads from each nation administered care during a simulated ambush, with medics treating Soldiers quickly before extracting them to safety for additional treatment. (Pictured: A French combat medic demonstrates first-aid techniques during Croix du Sud 2023.)

“It’s actually a great eye-opener to see what other countries are doing,” U.S. Army Spc. Dagan Johnston, a combat medic with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, said in a news release. “It’s great to see other perspectives of how we can tackle the same things, but maybe in a different way.”

Pvt. Amanda Voice, a combat medic trainee with the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, noted similarities and differences among participants. New Zealand and U.S. medics, for example, follow regulations outlined in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines, she said, according to the U.S Army.

“The French use morphine injectors, which is something we don’t,” Voice added. “The French don’t always have a medic with them, so it’s the Soldiers who do the first aid.”

Croix du Sud participants also hailed from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

“These are our brothers. When we deploy, we’ll be working side by side with them, and it’s great to know that we have confidence in each other,” Johnston said. “They got our backs, we got theirs.”


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