CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - U.S. Navy preventative medicine technicians with 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, participated in Preventative Medicine Exercise 2016 at Camp Pendleton, Calif., from Nov. 7-11, 2016.
The technicians used a variety of equipment that is rarely incorporated into training in order to generate a better understanding of the gear at their disposal during deployments. Gear such as animal traps and sound level detection machines are used by technicians to keep a field environment healthy for service members and patients.
"A lot of the equipment these technicians are using they may have never seen before this exercise, and it's giving them a greater knowledge and appreciation for what they have to work with," said Lt. Ryan Larson, an entomologist with 1st Med Bn.
The technicians were placed in a field environment to simulate a deployed scenario and the unique challenges that accompany it.
The technicians set up a field chow hall and a waste sanitation pit, to drain and evaporate the waste in an environmentally safe way, according to Larson.
Specialized instructors worked with the technicians to discuss hot and cold weather injuries, and how to handle injuries from venomous snakes.
"Our technicians are working with instructors from the Navy Environmental Preventative Medicine Unit and are getting training that most medical technicians wouldn't get the chance to have," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Matthews, a preventative medicine technician with 1st Med Bn. "Becoming more proficient in your craft and stepping out of your comfort zone are both expected and required from these technicians."
This exercise was an opportunity for the technicians to take an in depth look at the equipment they have at their disposal and the knowledge they need to be successful in more austere environments.
"We send preventative medical technicians all over the world to support missions and they need to know the gear they have, inside and out, for whatever situation they may find themselves in," said Larson.
Preventative medicine can establish a healthy field environment, so that Marines and Sailors can accomplish a mission without worrying about having basic needs met.
"We have the gear and the instructors, and it's now up to them to get the most out of the experience," said Matthews.